KNOXVILLE — For the third time this season, the Bearden High School girls basketball team had to come from behind to beat Kingston Pike rival Farragut.
The top-seeded Lady Bulldogs, still unbeaten in District 4-AAA this season, overcame an early deficit to defeat the FHS Lady Admirals 65-53 in the 4-AAA Tournament semifinals Friday night, Feb. 19, at BHS.
Bearden (26-1) won in overtime in Farragut after traililng most of the game, then notched another comeback victory — trailing at halftime — late in the regular-season in West Knoxville.
The Lady Admirals, the No. 4 seed, opened an early 12-9 lead, which forced Beardenhead coach Justin Underwood to change his squad’s defensive tactics. He employed a full-court press in the second quarter, which would change the complexion of the contest.
After the Lady Bulldogs turned up the heat, things went downhill quickly for the Lady Admirals (16-7).
“We were able to force them to turn the ball over,” Zneyah McLaughlin, BHS All-District senior guard, said. “We were able to string the turnovers together and (as an opponent), you don’t want to turn the ball over in bunches.”
KNOXVILLE — Head coach Justin Underwood was breathing a sigh of relief after watching his Bearden High School girls basketball team win the District 4-AAA Tournament championship and improve to 16-0 in district games.
Early on it looked like the top-seeded Lady Bulldogs were going to cruise to victory. Not surprisingly, however, winning the title didn’t come easily.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Underwood said after Bearden notched a 57-46 win versus No. 2 seed Maryville before a spirited crowd at BHS Monday night, Feb. 22. “It’s never easy when you have to play a good team three times.
“I guess I’m just glad that we got out ahead as far as we did.”
The top-five state-ranked Lady Bulldogs (26-1) darted to a fast start and opened an early 17-7 advantage before extending their lead to 29-17 by halftime.
Seeking to match Bearden girls hoop’s unblemished success in District 4-AAA, the Bulldog boys of Jeremy Parrott — recently named District Coach of the Year — played Maryville for the 4-AAA tourney title at BHS Tuesday, Feb. 23 (after deadline).
Led by District MVP A.J. Pruitt, a senior guard, and All-District teammates Izaiha Bredwood (senior guard), Hayden Treadwell (senior wing) and Walker Kyle (junior post), top-seeded Bearden — ranked among the top-3 statewide in Class AAA — sought to go 16-0 in 4-AAA, 26-3 overall with a win versus No. 2-seed MHS.
Honorable mention Dawg was junior guard Elijah Bredwood.
Hardin Valley Academy has two All-4-AAA, two Honorable Mention
While Bearden dominated both the girls and boys All-District 4-AAA teams — led by boys MVP A.J. Pruitt, a senior guard, and Coach of the Year Jeremy Parrott — Farragut teams had five All-District honorees and four Honorable Mentions.
Hardin Valley Academy teams had two All-4-AAA and two Honorable Mention. (BHS honorees in “Parrott’” and BHS-Lady Ads stories above).
Lady Admirals earning All-District honors were senior guard Macy Barnes, junior wing Avery “Ace” Strickland and junior guard Keeleigh Rogers. Honorable Mention choices were junior wing Ashlyn Sheridan and junior post McCall Willis.
Boys All-District were junior guard Ryan Neal and sophomore wing/post Dallas Carbaugh. Honorable mention choices were junior guards Dillon Atwell and Carter Mayfield.
Hardin Valley honorees
HVA Lady Hawk Gracie Waite, a freshman guard, joined Hawk junior guard Jaelyn Pannell as All-District. Honorable Mention were junior guards Hudson Stokes and Evelyn Hess.
After rival Farragut completed a 3-0 season sweep of Hardin Valley Academy — while ending the Hawks’ season, 67-52, in the District 4-AAA boys tourney quarterfinals — it was time for HVA head coach Shane Wells to reflect on a tough 6-13 season.
“We had a lot of adversity. We missed 40 to 50 days of the season with COVID stuff,” Wells said after the season-ending loss Thursday, Feb. 18, at FHS. “We missed everything in December pretty much. ... We hadn’t practiced between Nov. 28 and Dec. 28.”
Proud of his team’s no-quit attitude that helped trim big deficits down to almost victories at points throughout the season, “They never quit all year,” the coach said.
Saying they are “great kids,” Wells said goodbye to senior guards Tanner Grantham and Justin Sharp, along with senior forwards Jaylen Jones and Jake Hubbard.
Looking ahead, “We’ve got a lot of talent coming back. ... We’ve got some good, young players,” Wells said. “I think we’re headed in the right direction.”
Six Farragut-area high school football players recently earned high honors statewide.
Three Christian Academy of Knoxville Warriors, two Knoxville Catholic Fighting Irish and one Webb School of Knoxville Spartan were named to the 2020 Tennessee Football Coaches Association Division II All-state teams in Division II-AAA (Catholic) and Division II-AA (CAK, Webb).
Division II-AAA All-state local honorees: OFFENSE/Knoxville Catholic — Hayden Todd, junior, “athlete;” DEFENSE/KCHS — Javis Mynatt, junior, defensive back.
Division II-AA All-state local honorees: OFFENSE/Christian Academy of Knoxville — J.D. Dunn, junior, running back; Grant Sterchi, junior, wide receiver; Ross Badgett V, senior, kicker; DEFENSE/CAK — Chi McNeil-Harrison, junior, linebacker.
Division II-AA OFFENSE/Webb School of Knoxville — Jackson Bradley, senior, offensive lineman.
MARYVILLE — Coming off one of its most impressive wins, 66-62 at Maryville during the final week of the regular season, Farragut looked to repeat that feat 11 days later.
But in the District 4-AAA semifinals Saturday, “I thought tonight, defensively, we were really good,” Red Rebels head coach Mark Eldridge said about his team’s man-to-man defense. “I thought everything they did was tough.”
Jumping ahead 16-6 after one frame and 30-16 at the half, “We wanted to stick it in the paint tonight (on offense) and we did,” Eldridge added, as his No. 2-seeded Red Rebels (19-8) claimed a 62-41 win versus the No. 3-seed Ads (12-12) at MHS Feb. 20. “... Or we kicked it out and found shooters all night.”
Scoring all 10 of FHS’s second quarter points, All-4-AAA junior guard Dillon Atwell led all scorers with 26, including five 3-point baskets. “I thought Dillon played well offensively,” Ads skipper Jon Higgins said.
However, as a team, “We didn’t make a lot of shots tonight,” Higgins said. “We made quite a few shots the last time.
“We didn’t grab many rebounds tonight. We grabbed a ton of them the last time,” he added. “Maryville played a lot harder than we did tonight.”
Jack Brown, All-4-AAA senior post, scored a team-high 21 for the Red Rebels.