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BHS follows blowout wins with 68-64 OT victory versus Fulton

Heading into Saturday afternoon’s match up with Fulton, to say Bearden was red hot would be an understatement.

The Bulldogs blew out William Blount 98-41 Jan. 13 and in the process broke a 30-year-old school record with its 85 percent (44 of 52) shooting from the field. Bearden followed that up with a 69-44 victory over Cocke County at BHS Thursday.

But apparently Fulton was going to have no part of another blowout win.

"It wasn’t so much turnovers as it was Fulton’s tenacity (slowing Bearden’s offense)," Bearden head coach Mark Blevins said of the Bulldogs’ 68-64 overtime victory. "They lost a close game last night and they came out here and I mean they played their tails off. I mean they played fantastic basketball."

Bearden improved its record to 16-4 overall entering the week, 5-3 in District 4-AAA.

With the start of the first quarter Fulton came out showing they were here to play and play physical with most of the their points coming inside the paint.

Good pressure from Fulton caused the Bulldogs to make some key turnovers, but a 7-0 run got Bearden back in the game with a 13-12 lead. The biggest key was Jeremy Holliday’s play inside as he scored the Bulldogs’ last seven points of the quarter. After one quarter Bearden had taken a slim 20-18 lead.

Fulton opened up the second quarter causing three Bearden turnovers and going on a 9-0 run to make a statement with a 27-20 lead with 4:47 left in the second. At the half Fulton led 34-29.

"It took us a half to adjust to the physical nature of the game," Blevins said. "We sent everybody in the first half to see who wanted to compete and we found out who was going to compete in the second half."

Bearden opened up the second half with a zone to try to tone down Fulton’s post presence and with time they slowly chipped away at the lead. They finished out the quarter on a 14-3 run and reclaimed the lead 45-41 with a long Paul Dickenson three and a lay-up by Tony White.

Fulton continued to show they where here for the fight in the fourth quarter as they came back and tied the game at 47 with 5:10 left. BHS suffered a huge loss at the 2:56 mark as senior leader Holiday fouled out with 18 points.

"It’s a big loss because in my opinion Jeremy (Holiday) may be the best big guy in East Tennessee," Blevins said. "It was a tremendous lose for us. Our kids really played with a lot of blood and guts down there."

With doom seemingly on thehorizon White took over, scoring eight points in the last 2:13 of regulation. With 13.8 seconds left on the clock and down by two, Blevins handed the ball over to White to tie the game up. White got the inbounds drove the length of the court and was fouled as his layup rolled in. One of the only negative marks on White’s night was his missed free throw with 8.7 left that would have given Bearden the lead 63-62. Instead, it was overtime.

Bearden showed its grit in the extra period, outscoring Fulton 6-2.

Down by two, Fulton brought the ball down with 17.5 left on the clock. With pressure defense White tipped a Fulton pass that was then intercepted by Mario McClunie, who took it in for two of his 11 points as time expired.

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