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Second-half intensity carries No. 2 seed ’Dawgs

In a tale of two halves, the Bearden Bulldogs rebounded from a poor first half to beat South-Doyle 73-51 Friday, Feb. 8 at BHS.

Bearden (26-2 overall entering the week, final 12-2 record in district as No. 2 seed entering the 4-AAA tournament) had a 29-20 lead with 2:46 left in the second quarter.

But South-Doyle (10-15, 3-11) narrowed the deficit to 29-24 entering halftime.

“We had a poor first half, but South-Doyle really played well in the first half,” Bearden head coach Mark Blevins said. “We played a sensational second half so our second half definitely trumped our first half.”

Bearden came out with a newfound intensity in the second half and expanded its lead to 52-36 after third quarters.

“We came out slow out the gates but we kind of picked up the intensity in the second half and just came out with a lot of intensity in the second half,” Bearden junior Blake Jenkins said.

Bulldog junior Dustin Craig led the way with 16 points while fellow juniors Demonte Simpson and Jenkins had 14 points each.

“Demonte did his thing,” Blevins said. “When they went [man-to-man] Demonte just crushed them.”

Simpson has been a huge factor in nearly every game for the Bulldogs this season, but Jenkins has struggled to find the same type of consistency.

“I thought Blake had his best overall game,” Blevins said. “He played the way we expect him to play all the time offensively and defensively. I think that was the big difference.”

Jenkins was 6-of-12 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds.

“Tonight [Jenkins] showed you what he was capable of doing,” Blevins said.

Others scoring for Bearden were Nathan Parker 10, Marcus Webb six, Matt Ternes five, David Upchurch four and Gabe Campbell four.

With the regular season winding down, the Bulldogs are starting preparations for the playoffs. One of the immediate concerns for Bearden is in its man-to-man defense.

“We are losing our man sometimes in man-to-man,” Blevins said. “We will have two guys guarding the same guy. We did that several times tonight.”

Bearden knows that playoff time isn’t easy and anything can happen. “We can’t wait for the playoffs,” Jenkins said. “We are just trying to get the season out of the way. There are two more [regular season] games left and we get to playoffs and handle business.”

The Bulldogs will host No. 7 seed Heritage Friday, Feb. 14, with the winner playing the South-Doyle (No. 6) versus Farragut (No. 3) winner at 8 p.m., Monday, Feb. 18, at SDHS. Tournament finals are Wednesday, Feb. 20.


Webb led the way with 20 points as Bearden defeated William Blount 85-43 Tuesday, Feb. 5 at WBHS.

Simpson had 15 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, while Parker added 15 points as well.


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