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Dawg Pound ‘Super’ rally
Bearden erases 15-point first-half deficit, stays unbeaten to clip Central, win Kessler’s tourney

Despite his limited high school varsity hoops experience, Chris Phillips' second-half play was typical of Bearden's sense of inspiration and determination.

Seemingly overwhelmed by Central's size and athleticism early-on, trailing 29-14 early in the second quarter, the Bulldogs would complete a “Super” rally to stay unbeaten.

Led by Ty Greene's clutch second-half shooting, scoring 25 points and earning Kessler's Super 16 Tournament Most Valuable Player honors, the host Bulldogs claimed the tourney crown with a dramatic 68-64 victory Tuesday night, Dec. 29, at BHS.

“Ty and Jaeland [Lawson] and Rico [White] gave us a speech at halftime, that's what did it for us,” said Phillips, a 6-foot-6 senior post who, despite limited organized basketball experience, came alive for several key rebounds and a few blocked shots in the second half. Phillips also scored 11 points.

That included a critical offensive rebound of a missed Bearden free throw with only 9.7 seconds to play and BHS up only two points, 66-64.

As a result of Phillips’ hustle, Lawson, an All-tournament honoree who also scored 11, sank two free throws to ice the game.

“We knew it was our home court,” Phillips said.

White tossed in eight points, as did Will Winton, a 6-foot-3 junior post who made several key defensive plays in the second half while also pitching in eight points — four straight in one key stretch during the third quarter.

“In the second half, we worked more as a team, and we hit our shots,” Winton said.

The Bulldogs stay perfect, improving to 14-0, while the Bobcats, led by guard Dre Mathews' 22 points, fall to 10-4.

Linwood Holloway, Central forward, added 12.

Central's athleticism, manifesting itself with aggressive defense, bothered Bearden early, as the Bulldogs had a tough time finding good shots. And when they did, usually not more than one was taken with CHS's aggressive board work.

Offensively, Central attacked the basket with zeal, quickly drawing two fouls on Lawson, standout junior wing, and attacked the offensive glass. It added up to a 10-0 Bobcats lead less than three minutes into the game.

Down 29-14, Bearden finally came to life, reeling off a 9-0 run when Lawson finally got going. His driving jumper and fast break lay-up to Greene for a three-point play gave BHS five quick points.

Lawson then finished a fast-break lay-up, ignited by a White steal, cutting the edge to 29-23.

After two CHS free throws, Greene knocked home a three-point basket as the Bulldogs climbed to within four, 31-27, with 2:18 remaining in the half. Two Winton free throws kept it a four-point deficit, and one Phillips free throw trimmed it to three, 33-30.

But a driving basket from Central's Julian McBee followed by Darnell Williams' lay-up on a full-court outlet pass just before the buzzer, helping the Bobcats build a 39-30 halftime lead.

A White rebound basket and Winton's driving hoop cut the CHS lead to 39-35 less than two minutes into the third.

But Lawson quickly picked up his third foul, and went to the bench early in the third frame.

About a minute later, Greene picked up his third foul after Mathews earned a three-point play.

But Bearden began battling harder on the boards, courtesy of Phillips, throwing in two rebound baskets and blocking two shots during the stretch.

The last of those two baskets cut the deficit to 46-43 at the 3:20 mark. Winton added two driving baskets plus a pair of steals during the rally.

Five points from Greene, the final three from long range, gave Bearden its first lead of the game, 48-47, with a minute left in the third quarter.

Brett Wade's three-point basket highlighted Central's 7-2 run to end the quarter, as CHS led 54-50 with eight minutes to play.

Lawson's driving basket with 6:34 left tied it 54-54, then Greene sank two free throws for a 56-54 BHS lead seconds later.

Wade joined the CHS foul trouble parade with his third early in the fourth period. A Drew Standifer block and Lawson fast break lay-up built the BHS head to 58-55 with 4:45 to play.

Greene answered a Wade basket with a three-pointer, making it 61-57 with 2:55 remaining.

While Lawson picked up his fourth foul, Mathews sank two free throws at the 2:33 mark, cutting the lead to two. Phillips' rebound basket with 1:55 left pushed BHS back ahead by four.

A Central turnover meant the Bulldogs couls spread the floor.

Overcoming a turnover after Central misfired, Bearden played keep-away. Greene drew the foul, sank both tosses, and gave BHS its biggest lead, 65-59, with 58.2 seconds to play.

Central closed to within one, 65-64, on Holloway's three-point basket with :21.4 seconds to play.

Other BHS scorers were Standifer four, and one free throw from Spencer Peake.

Bearden's path to the Kessler's championship almost was derailed by Webb School during semifinal play Monday, Dec. 28, as BHS held on, 61-60, behind Lawson's 21 points. Greene and White scored 12 each.

Crushing Grace Christian 81-53 in opening round action Saturday, Dec. 26, Greene led with 20 points and Peake scored 11.

Other Bulldogs scoring included Jordan Wall with eight, Bennett Tassel five, Austin Weida three and Jordan Buck and DeQuan Wright two points each.


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