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No. 1 BHS cruises to 4-AAA final

SEVIERVILLE — It’s not unusual for an above average District 4-AAA team to hang close to mighty No. 1 state-ranked Bearden — for a half.

As first reported at Farragut First Edition, Feb. 23, the Bulldogs — top seed and unbeaten in District 4-AAA (14-0) entering its district tourney semifinal game versus No. 4 Lenoir City — led only 31-24 at halftime.

But Bearden, improving its record to 30-2, blasted away in the second-half as expected and steamrolled to an 80-39 victory at Sevier County High School Monday, Feb. 23.

“We played really well in the second half, the pressure kinda got to ’em in the second half and wore ’em down,” said BHS head coach Mark Blevins, whose Bulldogs earn yet another trip to a District 4-AAA tourney title game. Bearden will faces a familiar post-season foe Wednesday night, Feb. 25, versus Maryville (23-6), squeaking past Farragut 39-37 in the other semifinal (see

“Everyone played well in the second half,” Blevins added.

Lenoir City (17-9) faced the Admirals (23-6) in the consolation game Wednesday.

The Panthers were pests early on, holding BHS scoreless for the first 3:42 of the game, then building a 9-4 lead on Dylan Powers’ three-point basket with 2:35 left in the opening quarter.

“They played us really tough in the first half,” BHS senior wing Dustin Craig said.

But a 12-0 run highlighted by five points from sophomore guard Ty Greene left the Bulldogs in control, 16-9, after one. On two occasions, LCHS 6-foot-7 standout junior forward Tyler Hood scored to close Bearden’s gap, the last on his 15-footer making it 18-16 with 5:48 left in the half.

A 6-0 BHS run featured two Blake Jenkins free throws, a Gabe Campbell fast-break lay-up ignited by a Demonte Simpson block, and capped by Simpson’s rebound basket put Bearden up 31-21 at the 1:44 mark.

In the third quarter, a Jenkins slam-dunk off a lob pass, Dion Fair’s steal and feed to Gabe Campbell for the first of his two baskets in the run and Galen Campbell’s short basket highlighted a 13-2 run and a 44-26 lead.

Four points from Nathan Parker helped build the lead to 53-31 in the final minute of the quarter. It was 53-33 after three.

A series of full-court press steals continued to build the lead early in the fourth quarter.

“In the second half we just got loose, I think, and our pressure kicked in and we really stepped up on the defensive end leading to steals,” Craig said. “Then we finally started scoring.”

While 12 Bulldogs scored, none reached double figures. Gabe Campbell, Greene and Jenkins each scored a team-high nine points.

Craig added eight, Jaeland Lawson seven, Parker and Galen Campbell six each, Will Winton, Rico White and Phillips four points each and Demonte Simpson and Fair two points apiece.

Hood scored a game-high 10 points for Lenior City.

Prior to the game, Parker, Jenkins, Craig and Simpson were recognized as All-District 4-AAA honorees, while Gabe Campbell and Greene were named Honorable Mention All-4-AAA.


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