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Blevins passes 300 win level as state’s No. 2 Dawgs keep rolling

It was a memorable week for the state’s No. 2-ranked Class AAA Bearden Bulldogs basketball team.

Bearden recorded its 25th victory of the season with a 66-56 win against Lenoir City Friday, Jan. 27 at LCHS to improve the Bulldogs’ record to 25-1 going into the week.

Earlier in the week, head coach Mark Blevins recorded his 300th career victory at BHS in a 68-66 win at Maryville, Tuesday, Jan. 24.

“I’m really proud of the kids,” Blevins said. “Only four other (Bearden) teams had 25 regular season wins and we tied that now, so we are the fifth and we would like to break that; that is our goal.”

Lenoir City, however, proved to be a difficult test for the Bulldogs.

The Panthers put pressure on the Bulldogs’ defense all night, and for a stretch in the first half Lenoir City’s persistent penetration to the basket ended up with more three-point plays than Blevins hoped for, forcing Bearden to stop its press defense.

“Even though we stopped the press they were still making their jump-shots. And the one thing that helped us was when they were making their lay-ups we were fouling them and they were getting three-point plays out of those. So when they were pulling up with jump-shots at least they were just getting two,” Blevins said. “They are hard to stop, they make a lot of shots and we just had that one run to get it to double-digits. And once we did that we were O-K..

“We still couldn’t stop them but we were making our free-throws.”

With a 43-39 lead going into the fourth, Bearden managed to get the lead up to 59-39 on a Damonte Simpson bucket with just over five minutes remaining in the game, allowing Bearden to seal the game with free throws. Tony White Jr. and B.J. Ware combined to sink 14 free throws in the fourth.

“We played as well as we could, Lenoir City played us tough both times and so we just feel fortunate to come away with a win,” Blevins said. “The second half I thought we handled the pressure, we had a couple of turnovers but other than that we handled the ball pretty well. We shot our free throws for the most part in the fourth quarter.”

White led Bearden with 23 points. Ware had 14, Rande Sibley 12, Simpson eight, Thomas Wiley four, and Kalin Garner and Hunt Rosson had two apiece.


Led by Sibley’s 27 and White’s 17, the Bulldogs avoided the upset Tuesday, Jan. 24, at MHS.


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