Size dooms FHS girls at Bearden

KNOXVILLE — With a huge size advantage in the post plus athleticism along the perimeter against rival Farragut, Bearden girls basketball stayed undefeated.

A big second-half surge, fueled by rebounding and low-post scoring, ended in a 60-39 Bulldogs win before a huge and loud “white-out” Bearden student section at BHS Friday night, Dec. 9.

Bearden improved to 8-0 overall and 2-0 in District 4-AAA behind the scoring of Grace van Rij, 6-foot-2 junior post, with a game-high 16. Senior guard Jalia Arnwine scored 12 and junior guard Trinity Lee added 11.

The Admirals fell to 3-5, 0-2, despite 11 points from Morgan Carbaugh, sophomore wing, nine from sophomore post Brooke Christian and six from senior guard Shelby Matthews.

“Their size poses a problem for us, especially [van Rij],” Admirals skipper Jason Mayfield said. “That’s something that we’ve definitely got to figure out a way how to stop.

“Their guards played well. [Arnwine] hit some shots. Of course, [Lee] is their best player, stepped up in a big way for them, too,” he added.

Farragut fought off Bull-dogs attempts to pull away in the first half.

“Those key stretches when we were down 6 or 8 [points], fighting back, then we had some turnovers in the first half that hurt,” Mayfield said. “And we just couldn’t rebound in the second half.”

“It’s hard to play against girls that size,” Kate McMurry, Farragut 5-foot-9 senior post, said. “But if you hustle it helps.”

About dealing with BHS’s size, Carbaugh said, “We just had to try and change our defense a little bit to compensate for that.”

Van Rij said about her team having three posts 6-foot-2, “we’ve really practiced throwing it into the post ... it’s a huge advantage for us.”

“Since we’re passing the ball around and looking for other people, we’re successful,” Lee said.

“... And we’re playing good defense. We’re communicating out there,” Lee added. “And rebounding and boxing out, that’s what showed in the second half.”

We’re looking down low for Grace and Isabel [Soldner] and Jakhyia [Davis] and Kendall [Clark], and then we’re looking outside for, like, me, Jalia, Tytiaira [Spikes] and Jah’niya [Bussell] and Annaka [Hall], all them.”

Saying he was generally pleased with his defense, BHS head coach Justin Underwood added, “I believe right now we’re holding teams to about 35, 40 points a game.

“Offensively I think it’s been a lot of different people stepping up and giving us different minutes different nights,” Underwood added. “This group is really unselfish in that way.”