Fast start fizzles, BHS girls second

MARYVILLE — Streaks are made to be broken, but Bearden High School’s girls basketball team had a long winning streak snapped at a most inopportune time Monday night, Feb. 18.

The Lady Bulldogs entered the District 4-AAA tourney championship having won 17 consecutive games. Furthermore, BHS hasn’t lost during the 2019 calendar year.

But that all came to an end when the Lady Bulldogs let a win slip through their fingers, as Maryville snatched a 63-51 comeback victory and a district title at William Blount High School.

The last time Bearden lost was, ironically, to the Lady Rebels in Maryville Dec. 14.

The Lady Bulldogs (26-3) opened a 32-19 lead just before halftime as Maryville (28-2) lethargically stumbled through the first half, leaving head coach Scott West extremely angry.

“I don’t think you want to know what I said to them at halftime,” West said. “Let’s just say that it was a ‘come to Jesus’ speech.”

Whatever the coach said worked, as the Lady Rebels used an 18-7 surge to take a 42-39 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Bearden, which shot well early and was 14-for-15 from the free throw line, fell apart after the break. Once Maryville got the lead, the Lady Rebels simply didn’t relinquish their advantage.

“We were 1-for-8 with our free throws down the stretch and we were like 3-for-18 in the paint,” BHS head coach Justin Underwood said. “And that’s just not going to get it done against a good team like Maryville.

“Unfortunately, our shots just didn’t fall, and defensively we didn’t do the things that we usually do.”

Tytiaira Spikes scored 14 points to lead Bearden while Zneyah McLaughlin and Jakhyia Davis had 12 apiece.

But that trio combined to score just 16 points after halftime.

Maryville’s Danae Fritz scored 16 points, including 14 before halftime to keep the Lady Rebels within striking distance to set the stage for their comeback.