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Blevins sitting 'key to Bulldogs' state loss

Despite some player over-exuberance, Bearden’s pre-game technical foul only cost it one point in BHS’s Class AAA basketball state quarterfinal game versus Clarksville Northeast last Thursday.

But ask Bulldogs head coach Mark Blevins how critical that technical foul became, especially late. Saying the technical restricted his on-floor communication — relegating him to sitting instead standing — Blevins and the Bulldogs were damaged in the late going despite an 11-point fourth-quarter lead.

As first reported at Farragut First Edition, March 19, Northeast used a 25-5 run in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter to stun BHS 62-53 in Middle Tennessee State University’s Murphy Center March 19.

“That was the key to the game,” said Blevins, charged the technical after his players circled the entire court with NE on the court when BHS first ran onto the floor for warm-ups.

Blevins said the officials believed “I instructed that, so now the technical is on me.” As a result, “I had to sit.”

Blevins said sitting limited his ability to communicate during play.

“I was hoping the kids could see the signals from where I would sit ... the kids need to see me constantly in critical situations.”

For that reason, Blevins added that if he’d received a technical in BHS’s close Region 2-AAA semifinal win versus Farragut, “that game was lost.

“For some reason they decided to go around the arena. They really hurt themselves with this little ploy.”

Bearden, No. 1-ranked in Class AAA ending regular season play, found a horrible time to lose its first game all season to a Tennessee opponent. The Bulldogs finish 35-3. Northeast ended 27-7 after a semifinal loss to eventual state champ Memphis White Station.

But two free throws from senior guard Blake Jenkins with 5:33 left in the fourth quarter gave the Bulldogs a 48-37 lead.

Led by 16 points from the 6-foot-7 senior guard, Blevins said “Blake had his best game,” adding the senior held Northeast’s “best player,” guard Jamarious Alderson, to five points.

However, three other Northeast players combined to crush BHS state title dreams, led by forward Dermetrye Brown, who finished with a game-high 22, and point guard Telvin James, who scored 17.

Jeremy Purvis also was clutch late and scored 16.

“Brown had a big game, we got dominated at the three and four spots,” Blevins said. “Brown was really the key to the game.”

Hurting Bearden’s cause late on offense, according to Blevins, was “a rash of 17-footers.”

Instead of being able to direct the offense standing along the sideline, “the only thing I can do is call a timeout and say, ‘you’ve got to take it to the rack.’

“We really got out of sync with those 16-, 17-footers.”

Four late turnovers, a handful of missed free throws plus an intentional foul — allowing NE four free throws to build its one-point lead to five with less than a minute to play — also were key turning points.

Demonte Simpson, 6-foot-9 senior post, ended his BHS career with nine points and eight rebounds Thursday. “Demonte held his own,” Blevins said. Nathan Parker, 6-foot-5 senior post, scored eight.

Other Bulldogs seniors are 6-foot-6 wing Dustin Craig, who scored five, and wing Gabe Campbell and point guard Benji Ware, each adding two.

Other Bearden scorers were Galen Campbell five, Rico White three, Ty Greene two and Dion Fair one point.

DeShawn Oravetz, 5-foot-10 senior wing, also dressed for his final BHS game Thursday.

After Northeast led 8-5 after one period, BHS led 22-19 at halftime and 39-33 after three quarters.


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