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Zone, guards, offensive boards keys to BHS region blowout of Central

With a 2-3 match-up zone defense frustrating Central's attempt to use its size and athleticism to drive and post up for points, plus key offensive boardwork and the usual clutch guard play, and Bearden turned a potential scare into an easy victory.

The state's No. 2-ranked Class AAA Bulldogs faced a Bobcats team that scared them in December’s Super 16 finals, a 68-64 BHS win, setting up this a win-or-go-home rematch in the Region 2-AAA semifinals Tuesday, March 2, at BHS.

Bearden (29-2) took control late in the first quarter, built an 11-point halftime lead then used sound execution to pull away in a 69-46 blowout.

Ty Greene, BHS All-District 4-AAA junior guard, led all scorers with 27 points.

Remembering a 15-point CHS first-half lead in the Super 16 finals where Bearden’s defense was much less effective, Greene said, “We really had to tighten up our zone, we were allowing too much penetration. We really focused on that in practice.”

While Central’s seasons ends at 25-8, the Bulldogs advance to the region finals and a home match-up tonight, Thursday, March 4, versus the Lenoir City-West winner.

Opening tip-off is 7 p.m. Sub-state games are Monday, March 8.

Jaeland Lawson’s 15 points included four key baskets helping BHS pull away with one push late in the third quarter, and another push midway into the fourth.

Will Winton — who along with fellow BHS posts Chris Phillips, Drew Standifer and Spencer Peake hit the offensive boards hard — scored 10. “Our focus was to shut down their rebounding ... we had to box out and rebound on offense and defense,” Winton said.

Rico White added seven, Phillips and Dion Fair four each and Standifer two for Bearden.

Julian McBee, standout Bobcats post, scored 10 of his team-leading 16 in the first half. Dangerous CHS guard Dre Mathieu added 15.

Bearden led 17-11 after one quarter, as Lawson scored six and Green five, and 34-23 at the break.

Crisp BHS offensive execution set the tone early in the third, with Green getting open baskets thanks to nifty passes from Winton and White. It was 56-37 after three.


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