MURFREESBORO — In a fashion similar to what the Bearden boys team pulled off late in its 2022 state title game versus Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett, the BHS Lady Bulldogs refused to lay down.
Things looked bad when fellow perennial power Bradley Central built a 16-point lead late in the third quarter of this TSSAA Class 4A quarterfinal showdown in Middle Tennessee State’s Murphy Center late Wednesday morning, March 8.
But after all, there’s a reason why coach Justin Underwood’s maroon-clad girls, defending 4A state champions, were 35-0 with a 57-game winning streak spanning two seasons.
Slowly but surely, Bearden pulled close before tying the game 53-all on the second of freshman point guard Natalya Hodge’s two successful jumpers in the final minute — the tying goal coming with 38 second left.
Stalling for the last shot of regulation, the Bearettes (35-1) missed a jumper but got a game-winning rebound basket from sophomore forward Harmonie Ware with just one second left.
For the game, Hodge led the Lady Bulldogs with 23 points. Senior standout post Avery Treadwell, recently named Tennessee Miss Basketball in Class 4A (see related story on page 1B), scored 12 points — all at the free throw line (12 of 14) — before fouling out with 2:22 remaining.
Lady Bulldogs Lindsay Wilson, junior guard, and Kendall Murphy, sophomore guard, each nailed key three-point baskets during the late Bearden run to tie. Murphy ended with nine points and Wilson seven points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Lainey Cox, a sophomore forward, scored two for BHS.
Freshman forward Kimora Fields’ 22 points led Bradley Central, followed by Ware with 16. The Bearettes went on to win the state crown — the seventh in program history, most recently in 2019 — after decisive wins against Cookeville in the semifinals, 59-43, before whipping Bartlett in the championship game 58-49.