Late 7-point lead evaporates, BHS girls denied state

JOHNSON CITY — It was truly a magical season for the Bearden High School basketball team. But all good things must come to an end.

The Lady Bulldogs saw their 2019-2020 season come crashing down in heartbreaking fashion.

Bearden (29-4) led by seven points and had the basketball with two minutes to play in the contest before things unraveled, as Johnson City Science Hill stormed back to claim a 49-47 victory in a AAA sectional playoff game Saturday night, March 7, in northeast Tennessee.

“We played the way that we wanted to for about 30 or 31 minutes, only to see a perfect storm where some things didn’t go our way,” BHS head coach Justin Underwood said.

District 4-AAA regular-season and tournament champs, Bearden was led in scoring by junior point guard Zneyah McLaughlin’s 17 points, followed by freshman post Avery Treadwell with 10.

Jakhyia Davis, Lady Bulldogs star senior post, scored nine. Sophomore guard Emily Gonzalez finished with seven.

Although Underwood was disappointed to season in in Johnson City, he reflected on the season from which, he and the Lady Bulldogs will take away several positives.

“We won the regular-season district championship, the district tournament and we won a tournament in Georgia, so we had a great year,” he said. “This is a great group of girls.

“Next year, we’ll probably look a little different but we’ll see who wants to come in here, go to work and work hard. Our record may not be as pretty but we’ll have some talented people coming back.”

The Lady Bulldogs will lose four seniors, including Davis, Emma Stone, Asailia Jenkins and Jah’niya Bussell.

And that senior class leaves quite a legacy. In four years, Bearden went 109-20 overall and 53-7 in District 4-AAA. During that stint, the Lady Bulldogs won a share of the district championship four times, while claiming a region title and making it to the state semifinals once.

“This is a great group of seniors,” Underwood said. “The bar was really high when they got here and they continued that.

“They represented us well here both on the basketball court and in the classroom.”