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Final quarter push by MHS ends Bearden girls’ season

Despite a losing season, Nathan Hodges’ learning curve as a first-year head coach didn’t include having to work magic as a motivator for his Bearden Lady Bulldogs basketball team.

“What I’m most proud of with this group, I’ve never had to coach effort,” said Hodges after his BHS girls were eliminated by Maryville in the first round of the District 4-AAA tourney, 55-44, Friday, Feb. 10, at Farragut High School.

“They bring a hundred percent every game, every practice. And with all the teams I’ve been around, I’ve never seen a group that works as hard as they do. I’ve really enjoyed it.”

The Lady Bulldogs, who end with a 12-17 overall record (6-8 in District 4-AAA regular season play), couldn’t hold a nine-point second-quarter lead.

With Bearden ahead 16-13 after one period and 24-23 at the half, the Lady Rebs put the issue on ice after taking a 35-32 lead into the final quarter.

“They turned up their defensive intensity, and we missed some shots and at times we just made some mistakes we couldn’t overcome in the end,” Hodges said. “They play that zone and they’re all so tall, they’re all so big. Sometimes they really get out on our shooters, but also being able to protect the inside as well.”

Allysia Bailey, Mary Hirst and Sarah Canter each led Bearden with 10 points, followed by Sarah Himmelreich with nine and Kristen Osterman with five.

Despite no second-half points from Himmelreich, “A lot of times we’re asking Sarah to have to handle the press ... and defend their best player, and that just kinda wears on her,” Hodges said.

Himmelreich joins Osterman, Amity Mulvey and Adalyia Parker as BHS seniors who played their final game Friday.

“Sarah Himmelreich, it’ll be tough to replace her on the court,” Hodges said. “Her toughness and her desire to get the basketball and to do whatever is asked of her are probably her best qualities.

“Kristen Osterman has really come a long way as a shooter, she’s hit some clutch shots,” Hodges said. “She’s become a really good defensive player.

“Amity and Adalyia don’t play as much as the other two, but as far as their leadership to the team, they are just as important,” Hodges added. “Amity is always upbeat, always positive, always has a smile and an encouraging word for everyone. Adalyia’s a workaholic, she shows the younger kids how to work and how to get better.”

Himmelreich said she “had a good time, and it’s weird that it’s over. I wish it wasn’t.”

Osterman said the team “had a few bad losses, but we had a few good wins, too. I’m sad that it’s over.”


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