BHS girls roll

KNOXVILLE -— Bearden High School girls basketball head coach Justin Underwood knows his team may have struggles trying to score sometimes.

But the veteran coach always expects his squad to play defense.

“Even when you’re not scoring and the shots aren’t falling, you can always defend,” Underwood said after the Lady Bulldogs used stifling defense to smother Knoxville West High in a 53-15 District 4-AAA victory Friday night, Jan. 17, at BHS. “We defended well and we really got better in the second quarter because we got in a rhythm and we turned our defense into offense.

“You may not be scoring, but there’s no reason why you can’t defend. We shared the ball (on offense) and we’re at our best when we share the basketball,” he added.

In the first quarter, the Lady Bulldogs (17-1 overall, 7-1in the district) missed open shots, including open layups, and struggled from the free throw line.

But defensively, Bearden made life for the Lady Rebels (8-10, 1-6) tough, as it surrendered just two points over the first 16 minutes and kept West off the scoreboard in the second quarter.

In fact, the Lady Rebels went 17 minutes without a point, finally ending their drought when

Iesha Abdurraqeeb made a basket midway through the third frame.

Abby Gray, a sophomore, had West’s only bucket before halftime as Bearden had a 29-2 lead at halftime.

Once Bearden established its offensive presence, the BHS attack was a bit more potent — and as always, it was balanced.

Sophomore guard Emily Gonzalez had 13 points and was the only Bearden player to post double figures in the scoring column.

But that didn’t seem to matter to anyone associated with the Lady Bulldogs’ program.

“We’re a very unselfish team and it doesn’t matter who scores what or who gets what,” Gonzalez said. “We’re just not focused on that and that’s why we’re so efficient offensively.

“Defensively we talk and communicate well, and the better we talk the better we communicate, the better we play,” she added.

Offensively for the Lady Bulldogs, Avery Treadwell, Zneyah McLaughlin and Jakhyia Davis all scored seven points.

Asailia Jenkins and Maddie Brillhart each chipped in with six, while Reagan Ruth and Jah’nya Bussell finished with four apiece for Bearden, which led 43-9 at the end of the third quarter.

Abdurraqeeb led the Lady Rebels with five points.