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BHS alums have recent hoop highs in college

A handful of former Bearden High School boys basketball players are making an impact as underclassmen with various East Tennessee colleges.

Mario McClunie, a 6-foot-1 freshman, is having to grow up fast as the starting point guard with the all-freshman Hiwassee Tigers (junior college) in Madisonville — a team partially depleted with academic casualties following the first semester, leaving only six eligible players.

That growth process includes developing his shooting touch.

Averaging four points per game as a part-time starter before the team was partially depleted, “that will rise,” HC assistant coach Richard Murray said. “The biggest asset he brings to us is that he played for Mark Blevins at Bearden, so he’s well coached.

“Two, he’s a solid defensive player, he understands the game real well, and understands what we’re trying to get done this year … he wasn’t a big offensive contributor in the fall because we had other scorers, his role in the fall was mainly defense.”

Murray added that McClunie is “going to have to score more,” and the BHS alum responded to the challenge in a Monday, Jan. 17, home game against the Maryville College junior varsity.

“He proved that last week … he had eleven points,” Murray said of McClunie’s scoring in a 59-56 Tigers win (5-7 HC overall record entering the week). “He hit a three (point basket) that put us up for good.”

Jeremy Holliday, a 6-foot-7 freshman power forward for the Maryville College Scots (NCAA Division III level), “is doing well, he’s landed a starting position now,” coach Blevins said. “… (MC head coach Randy Lambert) said that he’s really stepped up his game.”

Shooting better than 60 percent from the field, Holliday is averaging five rebounds per game.

Andy Metz, a sophomore wing/small forward at King College in Bristol (NAIA Division II level), is stepping up defensively, Blevins said, as illustrated during a recent game vs. Union College.

“A kid from Union had seven, three (point baskets) in the first half, and they brought Andrew in for the second half to guard him,” Blevins said. “The kid had twenty-eight (points) in the first half, and ended the game with twenty-eight.


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