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Dawgs take two from Irish

It was a great night to be a Bearden fan, given dominating victories by the Bulldogs’ boys and girls teams Friday, Dec. 9.

The girls team (7-2, 2-0) broke from a 4-4 deadlock early in the first to lead 18-7 at the quarter en route to a 44-32 victory that saw the Lady Bulldogs never lead by less than 12 points after the early surge. Catholic fought the good fight, but fell to 3-3, 1-1.

The boys’ team was all over the green and gold team, rushing to a 37-14 halftime lead before winning 63-46.

For the BHS girls, Erin Walsh made back-to-back three-point goals to turn a 4-4 tie into a 10-4 Lady Bulldogs lead. “The two early three-pointers helped out and gave me confidence,” Walsh said. “I had been shooting the ball well. This year’s team is really close, and that really helps.”

Walsh ended the night with 12 points, second only to J.J. McLaughlin, who was all over the court to put 13 on the board.

Her play on the intangibles was equally significant: handling the ball, getting after the ball defensively and generally harassing Catholic into a multitude of mistakes. “We don’t like losing,” McLaughlin said. “Playing hard comes naturally. We don’t want to have excuses for not playing well.”

Bearden head coach Justin Underwood noted that jumping to the early lead was a good omen. “Getting 18 points in the first quarter against a team like Catholic set a tone for our confidence. This is a great group who has bought into playing defense.”

Catholic was led by eight points from Abby McCalough and seven from Catherine Holland. Catholic was playing with a short stick, given that Clare Conaty, Erin Kenny and Hope Hopson missed the game with injuries and McCalough limped off the floor late in the game with an injury of undetermined seriousness.

Catholic head coach David Ball said the early deficit was too much to overcome. “We’re too young, without enough firepower to dig out,” he said. “In this league, you just can’t show up whenever you want to. You have to have your ‘A’ game every night.”

Bearden’s boys (6-3, 2-0) were ruthlessly efficient on offense and intense on defense. Isaiah Hicks, playing what head coach Mark Blevins called “his best game,” and Jack Graham each had two of six first-half BHS trifectas, while Sam Greene and Allan Pirie added one each. “I was very focused,” said Hicks, who scored 17. “We hustled, executed, and did what we had to do. If you shoot the same way, they’ll go in.”

Graham added 11 points.

“We were ready to play and played hard,” said Drew Standifer, Bearden senior post who scored 13. “They went to a box-and-one on me, and that allowed other opportunities for players to get shots.”

Kyle Anders had 20 points for KCHS (4-4, 1-1), 17 in the second half, with Lucas Stiles adding 14.


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