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’Dawgs get ‘Super 16’ title
Simpson goes wild with 33, 22, as ’Dawgs dump Fulton in finals

In championship games, the star players need to show up. For the Bearden Bulldogs basketball team, Demonte Simpson was there in a big way.

The 6-foot-9 junior post scored 33 points and grabbed 22 rebounds to lead Bearden past Fulton 70-62 in the D-1 Sports Super 16 championship game Saturday, Dec. 29, at BHS.

“Demonte was tremendous all night,” Bearden head coach Mark Blevins said. “That’s as fine a performance as we have had in this gym all the way around.”

Simpson was 10-of-18 from the floor and 7-of-10 from the free-throw line en route to earning the tournament MVP. Despite the masterful performance, Simpson said he couldn’t have done it without his teammates.

“My team, that’s where I got all my points from,” Simpson said.

Bearden defeated Fulton for the second time in nine days. The Bulldogs won 82-75 in overtime Dec. 20 at BHS.

“Fulton is a great team,” Blevins said. “People in Vegas are always putting their money on Fulton to go to the state tournament, so to beat a team of that caliber is special.”

This time against Fulton wasn’t any easier. Bulldogs starting point guard Andy Fennell left in the first quarter with a chest injury and didn’t return.

His backup, David Upchurch, left in the third quarter with an ankle injury and didn’t return.

Junior Benji Ware was called on to run point for the remainder of the game and didn’t disappoint. “Benji did well,” Blevins said. “Our intensity level picked up in the second half.”

Part of what enabled the Bulldogs (17-1) to be so productive was the ability to rebound, but more importantly it was Bearden’s ability to stick to the game plan. “We just went with the game plan,” Simpson said. “We rebounded pretty well and we shot pretty well. We executed the game plan and just went with that.”

The Bulldog defense limited the outside shooting of Fulton (9-3) and they were able to hold sophomore guard Jalen Steele to 15 points.

“We came out slow a little bit, but we picked it up early,” Bearden junior Gabe Campbell said. “We were able to contain Jalen Steele in the first quarter and in the second half we were able to contain him pretty well.”

Bearden took a 14-10 lead at the end of the first quarter and a 29-27 lead into halftime.

The Bulldogs played the majority of the first half in man-to-man defense, but due to foul trouble switched to a zone for the entire second half. Once the switch was made, the Falcons struggled with their outside shot.

“We played a lot of man and the game was tight,” Blevins said. “They were not able to hit the perimeter shots against us once we switched up to zone.”

Campbell had 14 points and Blake Jenkins had 12. Each was named to the All-Tournament team. Others scoring for BHS were Nathan Parker five, Fennell three, Ware two and Marcus Webb one. “We are happy with where we are at now,” Blevins said. “But we are still looking to improve a lot. We are still very young and still have a lot to improve on.”


The Bulldogs cruised in the second round of the Super 16 with a 87-60 win against Loudon Friday, Dec. 28, at BHS.

Jenkins led the way with 22 points while Simpson and Parker had 14 each, Others scoring for BHS were Campbell 11, Dustin Craig 11, Galen Campbell four, Jordan Collins four, DeShawn Oravetz two, Upchurch two, Matt Ternes two and Ware one.


Bearden opened the Super 16 with a 89-68 win versus Carter Thursday, Dec. 27, at BHS.

Simpson led Bearden with 19 points and Craig added 17. Others scoring for the Bulldogs were Jenkins nine, Fennell seven, Parker seven, Collins six, Ternes five, Campbell four, Burris three and Upchurch two.


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