‘Thirds’ big: Dawgs rip Bears, A-E

After getting off to a slow start in an effort to defend its 2018-19 Class AAA state championship, the Bearden High School boys basketball team now finds itself above .500, as it heads into a brief Christmas break.

Head coach Jeremy Parrott did a little experiment at halftime of two games late last week.

It appeared to work.

“If you noticed, the last two nights we stayed on the court at halftime,” Parrott said after the Bulldogs (7-6) ran past Austin-East 80-43 Friday night, Dec. 20, at the 5-Star Classic in Farragut High School’s Lynn E. Sexton Gymnasium. “I decided to do that for two reasons.

“First, I felt like we were losing some intensity when we left the arena and went to the locker room. Secondly, I wanted the guys to get some more shots up. It always helps to get shots up. So I wanted us to get shots up and then come over to the sideline and talk a little bit about what we want to do coming back after halftime.”

The reason for Parrott’s unorthodox tactics was simple. During their losing streak to start the season, the Bulldogs had struggled during the third quarter.

“Early, we lost a lot of third quarters,” he said.

Bearden opened a 36-26 advantage by halftime against the Roadrunners (4-2), then outscored Austin-East 27-9 in the third frame to continue a trend that it started Thursday, Dec. 19, against Bradley Central in their Classic opener.

The Bulldogs trailed 18-17 at the break against the Bears, but scored the first 13 points of the third quarter and cruising to a 47-27 victory.

At halftime versus A-E, “Coach (Parrott) was telling us that we’ve got to win the third quarter and we were able to take care of it,” said senior guard Cahlib Edwards, a transfer from Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, who led the Bulldogs with 21 points. “The third quarter is key.It can win or lose you a ballgame.”

Bulldog Izaiha Bredwood scored 18 points and teammate Tyler Nordin had 10 against the Roadrunners. Elijah Bredwood and A.J. Pruitt each pitched in six points, as the contest was played with a running clock for much of the fourth quarter.