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Blevins full of praise for state hoops semifinalists BHS

Bearden’s Bulldogs, ranked No. 28 nationwide by, outrebounded Memphis Melrose 36-33 and forced more turnovers, 16-versus-11, in this Class AAA state tournament semifinal hoops showdown Friday, March 19, in Murfreesboro.

But even throwing in 33 combined points from junior standout guards Ty Greene (18) and Rico White (15), BHS still couldn’t match the Melrose one-two punch.

Melrose, ranked No. 13 nationwide, pulled away late, winning 69-57 en route to a state title and a 37-4 final record.

Tennessee commitment and hot-shot point guard, Chris Jones, pumped in 22 points, while 6-foot-6 junior forward Thomas Adonis (19) is sought by such college powers as North Carolina and Ohio State, BHS head coach Mark Blevins said.

Bearden’s stellar season ends at 32-3. “This team, if not the best, it’s in the top two,” Blevins said about rating the teams he’s coached in 16 seasons at BHS.

White “had another great night,” Blevins said, adding point guard Dion Fair “did a great job, especially on Jones ... Jaeland [Lawson] played sensational, all the way around. ... DeQuan [Wright] was sensational.”

Will Winton, junior post, had nine points and a team-leading eight rebounds for Bearden. “I thought Will had his best game in a long, long time,” Blevins said.

In BHS’s 68-52 win versus Beech (30-5) in opening round play Thursday, March 18, “We played so hard,” Blevins said.

Forcing 25 turnovers, “It was as good as we’ve played this year defensively,” Blevins added.

“Austin [Weida] came in and did a nice job defensively. Posts Drew [Standifer] and Chris [Phillips] “did a nice job.”

White had a game-high 22 points. “Rico had a sensational night, all the way around,” Blevins said. “Played super defense.”

Greene added 11, Fair and Winton with 10 each, Lawson seven, Phillips four, and Wright and Spencer Peake two each.

Bearden hit 27 of 33 free throws.

Blevins praised his lone senior, Phillips, a 6-foot-6 post with limited career hoops experience. “It’s been such a pleasure for me to coach him, because of all the post players in high school that I’ve coached, he’s worked the hardest,” he said. “So intelligent, he’s gotten so much respect from his teammates ... and he has no fear.”


Mic Dearstone, local sports radio personality and 1996 BHS graduate who died last week at age 33, excelled shooting three-pointers and free throws during Blevins’ early years as Dawgs head coach.

Out of respect for Mic, Blevins wore his No. 43 jersey during the Melrose game, adding Mic is co-holder of BHS’s career free throw accuracy mark at 84 percent.

From the field, “Mic was just a sensational three-point shooter,” said Blevins, adding Mic, a 6-foot-3 small forward forced into duty as a post, averaged “between 15 and 16” points per game as a senior.

“His biggest shot was first round of the region, we were down two with about five seconds left ... Mic gets it from about 25 feet and drains it at the buzzer.”


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