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’Dawgs dump defending state champ, start 2-0

JOHNSON COUNTY — Two victories get the season rolling for the Bearden High School boy’s basketball team in the Hall of Fame Classic.

After cruising by Sullivan East of Bristol 63-47 Friday, Nov. 19, the Bulldogs (2-0 record) came back Saturday, Nov. 20, with the same intensity and crushed defending Class A state champ, Unaka 58-34.

“We played two really good teams and played sensational,” BHS head coach Mark Blevins said. “Unaka had three of its starters back from their state championship team and I just thought our kids played exceptional.”

Blevins’ biggest concern entering this season was his team’s lack of size, but he considered last weekend’s games a good test for his Bulldogs.

“Both teams were bigger than us,” Blevins said, “but we were able to counter them and hopefully we can have that same kind of success in the near future.”

After trailing early in the game 10-2, the Bulldogs fought back with a 13-0 run and took a 15-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. They never looked back.

“Defensive pressure really got the lead for us,” Blevins said. “Everything worked out for us.”

Nathan England, Paul Dickenson (three 3-point goals) and Tony White each contributed 13 points for BHS. Rande Sibley added 10 points, B.J. Ware scored six and Josh Mathys added three.

“Passing was superb, we only had 17 turnovers in two games which was very, very good,” Blevins added. “For us to win our five starters all have to be successful and all five played exceptionally well.

“The kids that came off the bench didn’t score much but they played well and filled their roles perfectly, so if they get some more seasoning I think they will help us even more.”

In the first game against Sullivan East, England led the way with 19 points.

Ware, White, and Sibley each had 12 points apiece and Dickenson contributed eight points in the opener.

Blevins said two key aspects his team is going to continue working on are, “fundamentals and team play.”

The Bulldogs are participating in a Thanksgiving tournament in Greenville all this week.


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