KNOXVILLE — The District 4-AAA basketball season has been a wild ride for the Bearden Lady Bulldogs in 2017-18.
But Bearden, which lost three early league games and endured a tough December, finally nabbed a share of 4-AAA first place with a 55-40 victory over Hardin Valley Academy at home Friday night, Feb. 2.
The Lady Bulldogs (19-7 overall, 11-3 in 4-AAA) have won 10 consecutive district games and are tied with the Lady Hawks (20-5, 11-3), winners against Bearden at HVA earlier this season.
Bearden was in control of this contest from the outset, as senior guard Trinity Lee knocked down a pair of early 3-pointers and Jakhyia Davis scored nine points in the first quarter to help the Lady Bulldogs open a 12-5 lead.
From there, Bearden would continue to build its lead all night, making the Lady Hawks look out of sorts.
“Bearden did a great job against us tonight,” Hardin Valley head coach Jennifer Galloway said. “They made us take tough shots.”
Lee finished with 20 points to lead all scorers and knocked down four shots from beyond the 3-point arc. “We’re back in first place and we’re 0-0,” she said. “That’s how we have to approach every game from here on out.”
Bearden senior center Grace van Rij scored 10 of her 11 points in the fourth quarter.
“She’s a very unselfish type of player and she knew that we needed her to play defense and rebound,” BHS head coach Justin Underwood said. “She’s not worried about scoring her points and she really stepped for us tonight.”
Lizzie Davis, senior guard, led HVA with 13 points. Abbey Cornelius, senior post, and Malaka Grice, sophomore post, finished with 10 points each for the Lady Hawks.
It’s been a long tough journey back to the top of the district standings according to van Rij.
“[Lee] and I are the seniors and we had to step up and lead this team,” van Rij said. “We had to tell the girls that we were going to have to play better if we were going to get where we wanted to go. We’ve been doing extra reps and it showed tonight.
“This feels amazing. It’s great to be back on top.”
Lee said that she knew that Bearden was going to have to be ready to face the Lady Hawks.
“We knew that this was going to be a tough game,” she said. “They always play tough against us. We knew that we had to be ready.
Despite battling offensive woes throughout the game, the Lady Hawks had three players post double figures in the scoring column.