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Nine straight in 4-AAA earn BHS girls No. 2 tourney seed


After starting the season losing its first two district games, Bearden second year head coach Nathan Hodges knew his team could play a lot better basketball than they were at the time.

The Lady Bulldogs responded by winning 11 of its final 12 District 4-AAA games to lock up second place in the district with a record of 11-3.

The Lady Bulldogs (19-7 overall record entering the week) closed out its final district game with a 65-52 win at South-Doyle Friday, Feb. 9.

In what started as an off-shooting night for both teams, Bearden found its groove on the defensive end of the floor and took a 24-16 lead into halftime.

“We didn’t really get the tempo where we liked it in the first half, so we kind of played into their hands,” Hodges said. “But I thought we did a good job of keeping our defensive intensity.

“Our shot is not going to show up every night but our defense came today and that allowed us to have the lead at halftime.”

After halftime both teams looked rejuvenated, but the defensive pressure by the Lady Bulldogs was the difference.

Bearden forced 23 South-Doyle turnovers, and according to Hodges it was all about getting his team to up their intensity level.

“Just ramping up our pressure forces us to be more aggressive in all aspects of the game and that was the difference,” the coach said.

Mary Hirst scored a team-high 22 points for Bearden. Allysia Bailey added 14 and Rikki Sanders had 11. Others scoring for Bearden were Sarah Canter with nine, Jenna Maynard six and Tiffany Johnson three.

For South-Doyle most of the offense was supplied by twins Kinsey and Kelsey Galyon, who scored 24 and 18 points respectively.

The strong effort from the Galyons wasn’t enough though, as Bearden found a way to expand its lead with a 7-2 run to open the fourth quarter.

“Last year we didn’t win as many games as we wanted to but we laid a good foundation and our kids worked really hard this summer,” Hodges said.

“Anything I asked them to do they did it and it’s paying off, and the kids are the ones that deserve the credit because they bought into the new system and its starting to pay off.”

With a current nine game winning streak — all against 4-AAA competition — the Lady Bulldogs hope to close out the regular season with non-district wins against Karns (Feb. 12) and Powell (Feb. 13, both after press deadline) and ride the winning streak into the district tournament.

“You have got to remember where you came from,” Hodges said. “I just tell them that you are going up a ladder and you are either going up or you are going down. We are never going to stay the same, so we just strive to continue to go up with each and every practice and every game.”

BHS 72 WILLIAM BLOUNT 42

Led by Bailey’s 27 points, Bearden crushed William Blount at home 72-42 Tuesday, Feb. 6.

Bearden held University of Georgia signee Angela Puleo to 13 points, nearly 14 below her season average.

Others scoring for Bearden were Sanders with 14, Hirst 10, Maynard eight, Canter seven, Stephanie McCray three, Mercedes Cotner two and Ellen Smith one.

 

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