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Enough is enough for Lady Dawgs
Bearden avenges loss to Lady Ads in critical 4-AAA rematch

Enough was enough for Nathan Hodges’ Bearden Lady Bulldogs.

A one-sided loss to Farragut earlier this season at FHS, plus an offensive collapse last Tuesday in a home setback versus Heritage made Friday’s night’s rematch with the Lady Admirals critical.

The Bearden girls responded from the opening tip. While holding Farragut to just two field goals during a 14-minute stretch of the second and third quarters, BHS dominated from the second quarter on Jan. 15 at home.

Though FHS closed an early 9-2 Bearden lead to within one point, the Lady Bulldogs used defense and balanced scoring among their top four players to win easily, 44-30.

“Anytime you hold Farragut, who was one of the teams tied for first in district, to 12 points in the first half, you’re playing pretty well,” said coach Hodges, whose BHS girls improved to 9-5 overall, 6-2 in District 4-AAA to pull even with FHS in district losses.

Meanwhile, Wes Edmonds’ Lady Ads fell to 13-5, 5-2 after losing their second straight 4-AAA game.

Taylor Cravanas, BHS senior guard, led all scorers with 13 points, six in the fourth quarter.

“I thought our defense was key, and we got a lot more rebounds than we did last game [against Farragut],” Cravanas said. “On defense, we made them have long offense possessions so they’d get frustrated. That was our plan.”

Although saying his players “don’t need much motivation against Farragut,” Hodges added, “The fact they handled us pretty well over at their place, and coming off the loss to Heritage, we knew we had to get a win if we wanted to make any kind of push for the regular season championship.

“And just the fact that we have four seniors in what could be their last Farragut game … they were going to do everything in their power to play well tonight.”

Hodges said Cravanas “played with a lot more confidence than she has been recently. She had a real good game offensively.

“Shayla McDaniel and Ellen Smith really played well defensively, trying to slow down [Katie] Cargo and Hayley Newby, who are both really good players,” he added.

Jai-Jai McLaughlin’s two early baskets helped Bearden build a 9-2 lead, as the sophomore point guard ended with 10 points.

“There was extra motivation, because I don’t want to come out and lose again,” McLaughlin said. “We all wanted to play hard and beat Farragut because they beat us last time.”

Smith, senior post, scored nine and McDaniel, senior forward, added eight.

Leslie Sayers, a senior, and Mary-Mc Alexander, a junior, added two each for Bearden.

“I’m going to give Bearden a ton of credit for playing good, aggressive man[-to-man] defense,” coach Edmonds said. “They hold people to 30, 35, 40 points a lot.

“We had open looks, but we didn’t make them,” Edmonds added. “I credit Bearden’s defense for forcing us to take outside shots.

“When we would drive we either wouldn’t make our penetration moves, didn’t get a call, didn’t really execute very well.”

Defensively, “Usually, if we hold somebody to 44 [points], we get the job done,” Edmonds said. “There were a couple of defensive breakdowns … that allowed them to get some good looks.”

Farragut’s top offensive efforts came from junior post Hayley Newby in the first quarter, scoring six of her 11, and junior guard Katie Cargo scoring seven of her team-high 12 in the fourth.

The Lady Admirals’ only run of the game, 9-3, closed a seven-point deficit to 12-11 after Cargo’s nice driving scoop shot roughly one minute into the second quarter.

Farragut would not score another point for more than six minutes, and only managed one free throw before halftime.

A Cravanas three-point basket and a flurry of action from Smith, three points and a blocked shot leading to McLaughlin’s fast-break lay-up, pushed BHS to a 22-11 lead with 1:21 left in the half.

Sayers’ alert pass to the cutting Cravanas for a lay-up extended Bearden’s lead to 28-14 early in the third quarter.

A Smith inside basket, McLaughlin’s fast-break lay-up and McDaniel’s nifty pass to a cutting Sayers for two points upped the edge to 34-17 late in the third frame.

Farragut never got closer than 12 from that point.

Alex Newby, Jessica Griswold and Anna Brinson each scored two for FHS, while Abbie Cooper added a free throw.


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