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Dawgs’ path to first title try
McMinn blasted, Siegel outlasted in first 2 rounds

MURFREESBORO — Spencer Peake had some encouragement not to hesitate firing up a huge three-point jumper.

“I got it, and the play was to rotate it, but my man was off me and I remembered Dion [Fair] told me to shoot it, and I let it go,” said Peake, Bearden senior forward, about his three-point shot midway into the fourth quarter that killed Siegel's 16-point comeback in the Class AAA state semifinals Friday, March 18.

The Bulldogs (35-3) built a 13-point first half lead against the super size of Siegel (34-3) with pressure defense and the scoring of senior wing Rico White (game-high 27 points). Bearden built a 48-32 second-half advantage before the Stars rallied to tie early in the fourth quarter, 50-50.

But Peake, who ended with 15 points, six rebounds and three steals with super hustle as the key — and battling players at least six inches taller — set in motion a 16-3 BHS run for a 68-58 win in MTSU's Murphy Center.

Building a 28-11 first quarter lead against McMinn County before cruising to a 76-48 state quarterfinal win Thursday, the Bulldogs smothered the Cherokees (24-11) with traps and man-to-man defensive pressure.

Mark Blevins, Bearden head coach, compared his team's defense versus MCHS to a recent quote he heard: “playing every possession like life and death. … We just had a great defensive effort tonight. The guys were all over them.”

Adding 32 points from a red-hot-senior wing Ty Greene, the Dawgs built a 19-point halftime lead, 46-27, that grew to 32.

“It's the best offensive night I've ever seen him have,” Blevins said of the blond senior. “He was explosive off the dribble. He was something tonight.”


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