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Pressure defense the catalyst as Bearden girls race past FHS 56-42

Throughout the first part of this young season the Bearden Lady Bulldogs have been trying to get the most out of its pressure defense.

Against the Farragut Lady Admirals everything came together, as the Lady Bulldogs ran away with a 56-42 win at home Friday, Dec. 8. Coming off two straight district losses to Heritage and Maryville, the Lady Bulldogs (4-4 overall and 1-2 in District 4-AAA entering the week) needed a win and were determined not to be denied by their cross-town rival Farragut (6-3 overall and 1-2 in the district entering the week).“We opened up with a really tough draw in the district and played three really good teams back-to-back,” Bearden head coach Nathan Hodges said. “We felt like we could have won the first two, so our number one motto was that we were going to take out our frustration from those games tonight and we did.”

With a stout press defense instilled by Hodges the Lady Bulldogs tried to speed up the pace of the game, but in the early going Farragut hung tough and only trailed 23-19 at the half.

“We did kind of what we wanted to in the first half and we slowed down the tempo some,” Farragut head coach Mike Driver said. “Then all of a sudden we didn’t do what we worked on in practice, which was handle pressure, and we turned it over and it just started snowballing.”

The Lady Bulldogs used a big third quarter to take a 43-30 lead.

“Tonight I feel like we pressured them,” Hodges said. “We have been working on playing faster, kind of a controlled chaos press and in transition, and it finally seemed like we were able to make plays without turning it over.”

Allysia Bailey, BHS standout senior point guard, scored a game-high 19 points three days after a 26-point effort in a 69-60 loss at Maryville Dec. 5. “She could score last year but now she controls our team better, that’s where she has improved the most,” Hodges said. “She knows when to attack and when to slow the game down and she did a great job for us tonight.”

“We were pumped up all day and all week in practice,” Bailey said. “We got ourselves prepared for the game and we knew what we had to do. ... We did a good job of executing that tonight, defensively and offensively.”

Rikki Sanders scored 15 points for Bearden, while Mary Hirst, who scored 15 against Maryville, added nine against Farragut.

Kara Beth Beverly had 14 points while Stephanie Torrence scored 11 to lead an FHS team that hadn’t lost to Bearden since 2004.

“Two years ago we beat them, so I am feeling real great right now,” Bailey said. “We were in sync together. We knew what we wanted to do and we fed off each other.”


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