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BHS duo emerge in sweep of Irish

While a new scoring presence emerged for Mark Blevins' Bearden boys undefeated basketball team Friday night, Knoxville Catholic's freshmen girls held up well in defeat against the Lady Bulldogs at BHS.

But then came Leslie Sayers, a Bearden senior guard whose combination of three-point shooting and strong play in the paint added up to a game-high -— and career-best -— 18 points.

With the Lady Bulldogs missing two starters, Sayers' effort led to a 48-32 win Friday, Dec. 18. (More on the Lady Bulldogs and KCHS girls later in this story).

Helping Bearden's boys pull away to a 78-53 win against Catholic, sophomore guard DeQuan Wright played his first game of the season and pitched in 13 points, 11 in the second half, while seeming to ignite the Bearden student section with each score.

“It felt really good, I haven't been on the court in a while and played a game, so when I came out I just wanted to go hard and do my best,” Wright said. “Feels good to help my team out.”

“DeQuan had a good night,” coach Blevins said. “He's going to get better and better because he's just a sophomore.”

Rico White led the Bulldogs (11-0 overall, 5-0 in District 4-AAA) with 23 points, 17 in the first half as Catholic, behind 6-foot-8 junior Joey Bodewig's 13 first-half points (17 for the game) stayed close and trailed 35-23 at halftime.

“Rico had a fabulous night,” Blevins said. “Jaeland [Lawson] finally got going there, he was struggling there the first two-and-half quarters.”

Lawson, junior wing, scored 13 of his 19 in the second half.

Mike Hutchens, KCHS head coach, said Bodewig “played really well. He hit nine out of 10 from the foul line, we're real pleased with that. Probably had close to 15 rebounds.”

About BHS switching to a zone in the third quarter, Blevins said, “We had to … we had four guys with four fouls. Ty [Greene] was out with four, Spencer [Peake] was out with four and Chris [Phillips] was out with four.”

Other BHS scorers were Austin Weida with eight, Phillips six, Greene five, Drew Standifer three and Jordan Wall one.

For the Irish (5-4, 2-3), senior wing Taylor Broussard scored 10, Lucas Branch eight, Phillip Stephens seven, Matt Cox four and two each for Zach Quayle, Chase Fox and Terrance Hall, and a free throw for Kyle Anders.

“We've only got two seniors, we're a real young team ... we'll be a lot better in a month than we are right now,” Hutchens said.


Missing senior post Ellen Smith (out of town, family related) while junior wing Mallory Uekman is lost for the season with an ACL knee tear, Sayers stepped up.

“It was kinda hard without Ellen and Mallory,” Sayers said. “I guess I kinda knew I needed to step up a little bit. Coach [Nathan Hodges] told me that before the game. It definitely boosts my confidence.”

Hodges said Sayers “had been lacking confidence offensively, kinda all season. She really found it tonight. We needed her to step up with Uekman being injured. She hit shots inside, outside. I'm really proud of her.”

Jai-Jai McLaughlin, Bearden sophomore point guard, added 13. Shayla McDaniel scored nine, while Mary-Mc Alexander and Taylor Cravanas each had four.

Clare Conaty, freshman guard, scored a team-high 12 for Catholic (4-5, 1-4). Bianca Andre, Kathleen Conaty and Rachel Dunn each added four points, while Angela Bryson, Catherine Holland, Carolyn Williamson and Erin Kenny scored two apiece.

“We're a very young team, but a very hard-working team that is learning to make the move from [Class] AA to AAA,” KCHS head coach David Ball said. “I've been very proud of my girls this year.

“We're getting some guidance from our upperclassmen as on how to prepare … because at times I've got four freshmen and a sophomore on the floor.”

Bryson, a post who is Catholic’s only senior, “is a warrior, she's been through so much,” Ball said.


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