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‘Pull-away’ sweep
BHS boys erase 9-point deficit, zoom past Irish; Lady Dawgs pull away late

Catholic came into Bearden's gym and successfully started running and gunning with the powerful Bulldogs for roughly 12 minutes Friday night in the teams' early District 4-AAA showdown Dec. 10.

It was paying off, to the tune of a 32-23 KCHS lead, midway into the second quarter.

However, Bearden started using its defensive board work to push up the floor even harder, and with defensive “adjustments” according to BHS head coach Mark Blevins, the Irish suddenly went cold.

And didn't recover, as Bearden's varsity basketball teams would sweep Catholic decisively.

A 21-2 Bearden boys run to end the first half put the top-50 nationally ranked Bulldogs (10-0 overll, 2-0 district) ahead 44-34, and with Catholic 6-foot-8 senior post Joey Bodewig saddled with early foul problems, the suddenly icy Irish offense was hurting.

Bearden pulled away without challenge in the second half, winning 88-64, as six Bulldogs reached double figures scoring led by junior post Drew Standifer and senior post Will Winton with 18 each.

Catholic went scoreless the final 4:53 of the second quarter.

“I think we were just conditioned better than they were,” said Standifer, who led the team with seven rebounds. “It seemed like they were getting tired faster than we were towards the end there.”

Spencer Peake, 6-foot-4 BHS senior post, scored 14, while joining Winton to rake down six rebounds each.

Senior wing Rico White and senior point guard Dion Fair each added 10. Senior wing Ty Greene scored 10. Fair ignited Bearden's running game to help turn things around, using the Bulldogs' effective defensive board work.

“We just turned it up — they're a good team,” said Fair, who had four steals. “We expected them to come out like that.

“At first we weren't really pushing the ball, so we started getting the ball off the boards more and just pushing and running,” Fair added. “And I guess they really weren't keeping up.”

White, who led Bearden in assists with four, also pointed to the boards. “I think it's when we get the ball off the boards, we start running,” he said. “We just keep pushing and pushing it. The big men, they get it out quick.”

Dropping to 4-2 overall, 1-1 in district, Catholic still had four players reach double figures, led by Matt Cox with 15 points.

“We just started going a little cold,” said Cox, a senior wing. “They were hitting everything. ... And it seemed like they out-rebounded us 20, 30 rebounds. I'd say it was the boards more than anything.”

Kyle Anders added 13 for the Irish, with Vic Wharton scoring 11 and Lucas Branch 10.

Meanwhile, the BHS Lady Bulldogs (5-2, 2-0) pulled away late, led by junior point guard Jai-Jai McLaughlin's 15 points, to win 38-24. (More on Bearden girls later in story).

The underdog Lady Irish (1-5, 0-2) hung close with a tough man-to-man defense, but McLaughlin scored 11 in the fourth quarter to help the Lady Bulldogs pull away.

“They were really aggressive, we really had to work to get by their defense,” said BHS senior wing Mallory Uekman, who ended with 10 points. “So far this year we've played a lot of zones, so this is one of the first teams who was actually in our face.”

David Ball, KCHS head coach, said, “Defensively, I rank us up there with the best in the district. Even holding our own on the boards with our size. Couldn't be more happy with our defense.

“We've just got to find a way to get that ball in the hole.”

Lexus Norwood scored four, and Mary-Mc Alexander, Erin Walsh and Priscilla Craig three each for Bearden.

Seven first-half points from junior Carolyn Williamson kept the Lady Irish within striking range.

Sophomore guard Clare Conaty joined Williamson with seven points to lead Catholic’s offense.


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