LENOIR CITY — Bearden High School’s boys basketball team recently completed a perfect regular-season run through the District 4-AAA league schedule. The Bulldogs, however, got a bit of a scare from fourth-seeded William Blount Saturday night, Feb. 17, in the district tournament semifinals.
But the Bulldogs, the state’s second-ranked Class AAA team and tournament’s top seed, survived with a 56-43 victory over the Governors at Lenoir City High School.
Bearden (32-1) sputtered a bit on offense out of the gate. But the Bulldogs’ defense stifled William Blount’s offense early.
The Bulldogs led 12-4 after the first quarter and were leading 22-8 before halftime before the Governors (13-15) closed the half on a modest 8-2 run and pulled to within 24-14 at the break.
“We had two byes so we were probably a little rusty,” said Bearden junior Roman Robinson, who scored 13 points. “We always stuck together and even though I think we were outhustled, we were able to pick up the win.
“We lost focus on defense tonight and we’ve got to do better than we did tonight. We’re just going to have to play better during this postseason.
William Blount pulled to within 38-33 by third quarter’s end, but got no closer.
The Bulldogs got 14 points from guard Quez Glover and 12 from guard Trent Stephney.
Tournament basketball is tough enough but Bearden’s team has been ravaged by the flu bug.
Glover was the latest Bulldog to endure the illness. He came off the bench Saturday and still managed to pace BHS’s attack.
“Quez has been sick. Last week, it was Trent. [junior center] Shamarcus [Brown] had it before that,” Bearden head coach Jeremy Parrott said. “[Forward] Drew Pember was sick before that.”
Brown and Pember had five points each against William Blount.
“It’s really tough to beat a team three times,” Parrott said. “We’re going to get everybody’s best shot. When people play us, it’s like their Super Bowl. At this point, it’s survive and advance. And we advanced.”
Bearden’s advanced to face Maryville, No. 2 seed, in the championshp game Tuesday night, Feb. 20 [after deadline].
“Tonight, I definitely think that we proved that we can play with anybody,” Governors head coach Kevin Windle said.