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BHS girls go OT, win; boys blast Irish

It was Knoxville Catholic and Bearden squaring off at BHS in a rematch of two Bearden wins Dec. 10 at KCHS.

Rematch games are often more tightly contested than the original games, and this twinbill was no exception.

Catholic’s girls’ team gave the Lady Bulldogs (15-2, 8-0 entering the week) all they wanted, pushing the Lady Bulldogs into overtime before falling by a 40-36 count. Bearden led by seven points, 25-18, but let Catholic (6-10, 2-6 entering the week) back in the game, as the Irish closed with a rush.

It was tied 32-32 at the end of regulation before the Lady Bulldogs made the requisite plays at each end of the court.

Bearden’s boys (15-6, 6-2) led Catholic (9-9, 3-5) from the middle part of the first quarter on, by as much as 16 at 33-17 and by as little as six (41-35), before running off and hiding out with a 20-8 run to close the game, winning 61-43.

Pacing the Lady Bulldogs’ win was senior guard Jai-Jai McLaughlin, easily the best player on the floor who scored a game-high 19 points.

The Lady Bulldogs trailed 8-6 after one period and led by only 13-11 at halftime.

“They were more aggressive than we were at the start,” McLaughlin said. “On any night, you can fall quickly from the top to the bottom.”

Bearden jumped to a 38-34 lead behind heady play by Kolbie Goddard, Kike Dwight and McLaughlin. Catholic closed to 38-36 late in OT before McLaughlin made two free throws to seal victory.

Catholic, decimated by injuries and playing only seven players, was led by Hannah Hopson’s 12 and Abby McCallough’s 9.

Bearden boys senior center Drew Standifer, also the best player on the floor, scored 25 points, 16 in the first half, to pace the Bulldog effort. Bearden led by 11 at the half and saw the lead dwindle to as little as six before finding its finishing kick.

“Everything went well the first half,” Standifer said. “The man-to-man defense makes my eyes light up.”

The Bulldogs got an exceptional first half effort from Allan Pirie (nine points, 13 overall), and found key second half points from Daquan Wright, who had eight points after the break.

“I felt confident tonight,” Wright said. “I hit the shots against the zone. Coach [Mark] Blevins trusts me as a point guard. It’s a hard job, but I try to do my best.”

Blevins also praised Jordan Wall, who led the Bulldog rebounding effort with 10.

Ryan Henry led the Irish with 13 points. Cook added 12.


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