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BHS sweeps of Webb, Heritage include McLaughlin dramatics

While the Bearden boys basketball team continued rolling along last week, Nathan Hodges’ BHS girls needed last-second dramatics to escape at Heritage Friday.

Jai-Jai McLaughlin, finishing with a team-high 17 points, nailed a running jumper in the lane with just three seconds to play, erasing a 46-45 HHS lead and, finishing off a three-point play, secured a 48-46 Lady Bulldogs win Dec. 4.

After two free throws with 11 seconds to play from Heritage standout Lauren Burnett, McLaughlin “came down the right side, drove left into the lane and made a nice sort of runner,” BHS head coach Nathan Hodges said.

Taylor Cravanas, senior guard back from injury who scored 10 points, canned a three-point basket with 40 seconds to play giving BHS a 45-44 lead.

Bearden (4-2) began the week with a 45-33 home victory versus a young Webb team, led by McLaughlin and post Ellen Smith with 11 points each. (More girls game details later in the story).

Mark Blevins’ undefeated Bulldogs (7-0) ripped Webb 77-40, then destroyed Heritage 88-55.

With Webb School missing at least one starter and several other key basketball contributors due to their football duties, the lightning- quick Bulldogs slowly pulled away.

The BHS trio of junior guard Jaeland Lawson (22 points) and junior wings Ty Greene (20) and Rico White (14) led the way.

“Our intensity was just fantastic, that’s carried us through several games,” coach Blevins said.

Webb’s biggest weapon, stout 6-foot-5 senior post Dwight Tarwater, faced a barrage of double-teams down low but managed a team-high 14 points, as the Spartans fell to 3-2.

“He’s gotten off to a great start,” first-year Webb head coach Ricky Norris said of Tarwater, who averaged more than 30 points in Webb’s first three wins. “He has great flexibility to do so many things … solid all the way around.”

Bearden’s post duo of Drew Standifer, 6-foot-5 junior, and Chris Phillips, 6-foot-6 senior, were praised by Blevins for “really playing well” defensively on Tarwater. “I thought they did as good a job as they could on him.”

Standifer scored nine, Jordan Buck added seven, Spencer Peake three and Phillips two points.

Steven Cox scored 11 for Webb. Burton Simpson six, Jordan Shuler five, Kyle King three and Brandon Nabors one.

Against HHS, Lawson led with 24 points. Greene added 21, and White and Phillips 11 each. Buck, Austin Weida and Bennett Tassel had four apiece, Alan Pirie three and two each for Jordan Wall, Peake and Standifer.

Rounding out the Lady Bulldogs scoring against Heritage was Shayla McDaniel with nine, Ellen Smith six, Mallory Uekman four and Leslie Sayers two points.

Against Webb, McDaniel scored nine, Mary-Mc Alexander eight, including six in the third quarter, and six from Uekman.

Webb has been shorthanded with starting point guard Majorie Butler, a sophomore, and Sarah DeBusk, a junior starter, out due to injury.

Webb had three players with eight points each, led by senior guard Elizabeth Wallace, praised by head coach Shelley Sexton-Collier for being “a huge positive for us on the floor tonight. I thought she made a lot of hustle plays. … I’m really proud of her effort.”

Kelsey Brown and Kelly Vittetoe also scored eight. Jane Romano had four and Jayda Johnson three.


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