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Blevins: ‘what a game,’ ’Dawgs bite Fulton in OT

It couldn’t be settled in four quarters, but the Bearden Bulldogs made sure to take care of business in overtime as it squeezed by the Fulton Falcons 82-75 Thursday, Dec. 20, at BHS.

In a match-up between two of the top teams in Knoxville, it lived up to the hype with each team fighting until the final buzzer.

“What a game,” Bearden head coach Mark Blevins said. “That’s a great Fulton team.”

In the end it was Bearden (14-1) that escaped with the win and the biggest difference was made on the glass.

“That’s the key,” Blevins said. “Especially offensive rebounding and defensive rebounding, they didn’t get a lot of offensive rebounds in the second half.”

Three Bulldogs finished with double-doubles in points and rebounds. Junior Gabe Campbell had 19 points, junior Demonte Simpson had 17 points and junior Nathan Parker had 16 points. All three finished with 10 rebounds.

“In the first half we had three offensive boards and it was the key in the second half,” Blevins said. “We kind of controlled the offensive boards and I thought we contested their shots in the second half, but they are a great team and they made a heck of a lot of shots.”

Bearden was in prime position to take home a 68-65 win after Campbell knocked down two free-throws with 12 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

However, Fulton’s Jalen Steele had other ideas as he drained a deep 3-pointer over 6-foot-7 Bearden junior guard Blake Jenkins at the buzzer sending it to overtime.

“Steele hit that shot, and Blake was all over him,” Blevins said. Steele, a sophomore wing, finished with a game-high 26 points.

Jenkins redeemed himself by scoring the opening basket in overtime and Bearden never surrendered the lead. Fulton (6-2) nearly tied the game with 35 seconds remaining in the extra period, but Jenkins pinned the ball against the backboard.

After connecting on 1-of-2 free-throws, Bearden had a 78-75 lead. Campbell and Parker added lay-ups to seal the deal.

The Bulldogs spent much of the night in foul trouble and Simpson fouled out with 2:14 left in regulation. It was hard for the 6-foot-9 post not being on the floor with his team during the final stretch of the game.

“It was so tough,” Simpson said. “But I had to support my team at the end and cheer them on, and we won.”

Both teams entered halftime with a 29-29 tie, but in the second half was a much more aggressive Bearden team, especially on the boards.

“We came out harder in the second half and fought till the end,” Parker said. “We weren’t rebounding as much in the first half. We started rebounding in the second half and it started to show because we got the lead.”

In a game between two talented teams, the deciding factor in the outcome of the game is simple.

“You just have to play hard,” Simpson said. “Whoever plays the hardest wins.”

Among an 8-team field in Super 16 Tournament play at BHS, the Bulldogs battle Carter. Opening tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. The winner plays the Loudon-Jefferson County winner around 7:30 p.m. Friday. Championship game is set for 9 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 29.


Bearden took a 50-17 lead into halftime and never looked back as it defeated West 86-62 Monday, Dec. 17, at home.

“We had the chance to play everybody at least one full quarter,” Blevins said. “We gave them quality minutes against a good team.” Simpson led Bearden with 17 points and 15 rebounds.

Other scoring for Bearden were Parker 14, Jenkins eight, Joshua Collins eight, Marcus Webb eight, DeShawn Oravetz seven, Campbell six, David Upchurch six, Galen Campbell four, Kelley four, Dustin Craig two and Benji Ware two.


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