HARDIN VALLEY — Bearden High School’s boys basketball team overcame a slow start Friday night in the semifinals of the District 4-AAA Tournament.
The Bulldogs overcame an early 11-4 deficit and stormed back to claim a 61-51 victory over the host Hawks at Hardin Valley Academy Feb. 17.
Bearden (18-8) began methodically making its comeback late in the opening stanza when sophomore Trent Stephney scored the last four points of the frame. “We came in cold and they played last night,” Jeremy Parrott, Bearden’s first-year head coach, said. “We practiced before they played and we didn’t know whether we were going to play them or whether we were going to play Farragut.
“That’s on me. I probably should’ve done a better job getting them prepared,” he added.
While the Bulldogs, who were set to play Maryville Tuesday night, Feb. 21, in the championship game, struggled to find their way early, Hardin Valley (15-14) came out hot.
Anders Cook knocked down a pair of early 3-pointers to help give the Hawks an 11-4 lead.
After that, both offenses sputtered until Stephney made the last two shots of the quarter. Stephney’s buckets began a 10-0 run for the Bulldogs, who were able to open a 14-11 lead.
Stephney finished the game with 20 points and Roman Robinson had eight. But it was another sophomore who made the clutch plays for Bearden down the stretch. That was Drew Pember.
Pember, a post player, scored 13 points, including a 3-pointer with 4:34 left in the game to help the Bulldogs reclaim the upper hand after the Hawks pulled to within 42-39 a short time earlier.
The sophomore big man also scored on a putback to give BHS a 51-42 lead a short time later. “I have to give credit to my teammates,” Pember said. “This was a total team effort. When we got down, we played better defense and we played our game. And then, we started hitting shots.”
The loss didn’t end Hardin Valley’s season. They will move on to the Region 2-AAA tourney starting Saturday, Feb. 25, along with Bearden, Maryville and West.
“Shots weren’t falling tonight,” said Aaron Dykes, Hawks junior point guard who scored 17 points.
“We just didn’t do the little things that we needed to do to get a chance to play in our district championship game,” Shane Chambers, HVA head coach, said.
“We got off to that fast start but Bearden is a very good team and they have a lot of talent,” Chambers said.
Aaron Dykes scored 17 points and like his coach, he’s looking to move on.
“That’s how it is sometimes in basketball [but] this is not the end of our season. We just need to keep working and do some better things on de