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BHS boys looking to ‘hold on’ in 2nd half of season


If the Bearden Bulldogs have a formula for avoiding big blown leads in the second half — a recent problem — Monday night’s game against Pigeon Forge was hardly a true test of that formula.

The out-manned PFHS Tigers were hardly a comeback threat in the opening round of the Bearden Super 16 Tournament at BHS Monday night, Dec. 27.

Tony White’s 17 points led three Bearden players in double figures as all but one Bulldog on the roster scored in an 88-43 drubbing of Pigeon Forge.

“I think we’re definitely starting to figure it out,” said senior post Nathan England, who scored 14 Monday. “I think one of the main problems was we were getting a little tired and didn’t have our legs under us in the third and the fourth quarter. That’s why we’ve gone back to subbing every two minutes. I think that’s really helping us out, so far.”

BHS head coach Mark Blevins agrees. “I gave ’em four full days off for Christmas, and I’m going to give ’em four full days off right after New Year’s to try to get our legs back,” the coach said.

Bearden carried a 10-5 overall record (3-2 in District 4-AAA) into Tuesday’s Super 16 semifinal game against Knoxville Central (after press deadline).

Paul Dickenson added 12 points for Bearden, followed by Rande Sibley, Zach Jackson and Josh Mathys with nine each and Katlin Garner with eight points. B.J. Ware scored six for Bearden, with Andy Fennell pitching in four and Hunt Rossen two points. Travis Tillman also contributed to the BHS win.

Pigeon Forge’s record dropped to 5-6 entering Tuesday’s loser’s bracket game against Chattanooga Howard.

As for big blown leads, red-hot three-point shooting from South-Doyle late, dominant post play by Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett in the second half, plus key missed free throws — especially one-and-one free throw chances — spelled disaster against both teams in Bearden’s two toughest losses after 15 games. That’s not to mention a bad bounce or two and a bad case of nerves according to Blevins.

Against D-B, Indian post players outscored Bearden’s much shorter posts 35-1 in the second half.

As for a solution, “we’ve just got to be able to hit the free throws, that’s the key down the stretch,” Blevins said. “Some of us will hit seventy, eighty percent for three quarters, then we’re shooting under fifty in the fourth quarter.”

Both Blevins and his senior post player agree that a 10-5 record after 15 games isn’t too bad.

“I think everybody’s doing a great job,” England said. “I think we’re going to turn it around and play really good the last half of the season.”

Blevins added, “Well, I guess we would take ten-and-five. We’ve kind of given a couple of games away ... the other games we got it stuck to us.

“The verdict’s still out on us; we’ll see how well we play the second half (of the season).”

FULTON 69 BHS 55

Despite Bearden’s 34-27 halftime lead, the powerful Falcons — who were unbeaten at 10-0 entering Tuesday’s Super 16 semifinals against Farragut — took complete control in the second half with a 42-21 surge to whip the Bulldogs 69-55 Tuesday, Dec. 21, at Fulton.

Unlike Dobyns-Bennett and South-Doyle, “they just stuck it to us,” Blevins said about Fulton’s second-half surge. “And then we couldn’t rebound.”

White led BHS with 22 points, followed by Sibley with 10, Ware with nine and Dickenson with six points. England added four, while Garner and Fennell added two points each.

The Bulldogs finished with just nine defense rebounds — 21 total. “They out-rebounded us three- or four-to-one,” Blevins said, “but then everybody does.”

 

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