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Dawggist depth displays allow No. 1 BHS boys strong run; girls lose 2

With back problems apparently cleared up, the state’s top-ranked Class AAA Bearden boys have rediscovered a weapon.

Jaeland Lawson, Bulldogs All-District 4-AAA junior guard who lit up the nets early in the season before a back injury limited his January production — and playing time — put together back-to-back offensive gems just when BHS needed help.

With Bearden having played four games last week, Lawson stepped up big in the final two as Mark Blevins’ Maroon gang won all four and stood at 25-1 overall while finishing as district top seed heading into tourney play early next week at Lenoir City.

With BHS leading scorers and All-District guards Ty Greene and Rico White combining for just four points at West against the Rebels, Lawson stepped in with a game-high 23 in a revenge-minded 89-75 win Thursday, Feb. 11.

“He’s back from his back injury,” said Blevins, adding Greene has been nursing a calf injury.

“We rested Rico.”

Four other Bulldogs also stepped up points-wise, with guard DeQuan Wright coming off the bench for 12 while Austin Weida stepped up as a reserve wing to score 11.

Junior post Will Winton and senior post Chris Phillips each scored 10, while Spencer Peake came off the bench for seven points and 10 rebounds.

“Spencer’s been playing his best lately,” Blevins said about the 6-foot-2 junior forward/post. “Most of our post players stepped up the past week.”

Blevins also praised Phillips’ recent “intensity, got his rebounds, did everything we asked of him.”

Lawson’s 19 points padded White’s team-leading 20-point outburst that included five three-point baskets, as the Bulldogs overcame a 43-37 halftime deficit at Carter (18-8) to beat the Hornets 81-73 Friday, Feb. 12.

The victory overshadowed a 38-point effort from Hornet Lester Wilson.

With Greene out, junior point guard Dion Fair stepped up with eight points, as did Peake and junior post Drew Standifer, while Winton scored seven.

Weida added five points, Phillips four and Wright two.

Meanwhile, Nathan Hodges’ Lady Bulldogs end regular season play with a one-sided loss to Powell followed by a 46-41 setback to West.

At 13-8 overall, 9-5 in 4-AAA, Bearden takes its No. 4 seed into district tourney action at LCHS beginning at 8 p.m. tonight, Thursday, Feb. 18, versus the Heritage-Knoxville Catholic winner

If Bearden wins, it plays top seed Maryville at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 20. Championship game starts around 8 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 23.

Against West, “I was pleased that we held Alexis Patterson to only nine points,” coach Hodges said, crediting senior post Ellen Smith plus his help defense.

With 15 points, BHS sophomore guard Jai-Jai McLaughlin “played pretty well,” Hodges said.

Smith added 11 points versus the Lady Rebels.


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