KNOXVILLE — Trent Stephney was recovering from a concussion when his Bearden High School teammates lost to rival Hardin Valley Academy in December. Stephney could only watch the District 4-AAA basketball game in helpless agony during that meeting.
But when the Hawks made a return trip to Bearden Friday night, Stephney was ready to play.
The sophomore guard scored 20 points to lead the Bulldogs to an 86-65 victory over the Hawks before a packed and boisterous house at Bearden.
“I didn’t play the first game when we lost [64-63], and that was tough,” Stephney said. “That was really tough for me but our other point guard, Ques Glover, played his heart out and he tried his hardest.”
Glover scored 35 points when the Bulldogs (13-7 overall, 8-3 in the district starting the wee) tangled with the Hawks in December, but it was not quite enough for Bearden to nab a road win at HVA.
The Bulldogs, however, was able to turn the tables against the Hawks (13-10, 7-4). The two teams were embroiled in a tough battle early with the Bulldogs holding the upper hand. BHS had a 19-11 lead before junior Tristen Waite buried a 3-point shot as time expired to make the score 19-14 by quarter’s end.
That could have given the Hawks momentum heading into the second frame but the Bulldogs had other ideas.
Bearden stepped up its defensive pressure and outscored the Hawks 24-9 in the period and opened a 43-23 halftime lead.
In the second quarter, Bearden center Shamarcus Brown was a force on the offensive glass and he quickly cashed those second chances into points. He had nine of his 16 points in the second stanza and scored most of his points after he was able to grab offensive rebounds.
“I just got into the game and I got some big rebounds,” said Brown, a versatile sophomore who can play both forward positions as well as center. “I was able to gain some confidence and give my team a spark when we really needed one.”
Brown made things miserable for the Hawks, who really struggled in the second stanza. The Hawks mustered just three field goals in the quarter.
Aaron Dykes, Tanner White and Luke DeFur made shots from the floor. DeFur’s was a 3-pointer. Hardin Valley also got a pair of free throws in the frame by Waite, who also buried another 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter.
HVA head coach Shane Chambers said his team was unable to force the tempo in the first half.
“We weren’t aggressive enough offensively in the first half against Bearden tonight and we got down big early and we had to battle back.”
And battle back, the Hawks did.
Hardin Valley entered the fourth quarter facing a 63-45 deficit but the Hawks were able to claw their way back and pull to within seven points twice.
Dykes, who scored nine of his 14 points after halftime, made the score 64-57 with a bucket with 4 minutes, 28 seconds remaining. After a modest surge by the Bulldogs, DeFur made it 68-61 with 3:10 left before Bearden closed the game on a 17-4 run.
“Aaron had a great game for us and we fought back and got it down to seven with about three minutes to go,” Chambers said. “That just proves that we can play with anybody. We’ll have to bounce back because we’ve got four games [this] week.”
“We’re a hard-nosed basketball team and hopefully some of the things that we did in the fourth quarter will stick,” he said. “We have big games next week and one of those is against Farragut at home [Friday].
“I just wish this one would’ve come out differently.”
Bearden head coach Jeremy Parrott was pleased with his team’s effort.
“I thought we played well the whole game,” he said “When they made that run, I think we got a little tired. I’ll have to do a better job using my bench in the middle of the game.
“We have a young team and we’re new and young to each other.”
Glover finished with 19 points and Dre’ Dave scored 11 for the Bulldogs.
Dykes’ 14 points led the way for the Hawks. Waite had 12 while White and DeFur finished with 10 each.