It took a while for Bearden to get going on Tuesday night, but once that happened, it was all Bulldogs.
No. 2 seed Bearden (19-8) trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half, but came back to defeat top-seeded Maryville (23-5) in the District 4-AAA Tournament championship game at Hardin Valley Academy, 75-70.
With Bearden trailing 42-31 with two minutes remaining in the third quarter, Maryville seemed to have all of the momentum and looked poised to run away with the tournament title to go along with their regular season championship.
From there, Bearden closed the quarter on a 21-4 run, capped by a deep Ques Glover three-pointer at the buzzer.
Crucial during that run was Bearden’s switch to a full court press, which contributed to the Bulldogs forcing 10 Maryville turnovers during the third quarter alone.
“The game wasn’t going so well in the half-court,” Bearden Coach Jeremy Parrott said. “I was hoping we could make the tempo faster on them.
“We work on the press every day, and it paid off.”
Though the Bulldogs ended up with 29 points in the third quarter, baskets were hard to come by early on in the second half.
Bearden didn’t score until 4:35 remaining in the third quarter, and trailed by nine at that point.
Trent Stephney led the Bulldogs in scoring with 22 points, while Glover and Drew Pember each had 19. Pember also led Bearden in rebounding with 12 boards.
“We’ve got as good a backcourt as there is around,” Parrott said. “But it’s not just our guards.
“We’ve got pieces all up and down our lineup, and today they showed it.”
The win gives Bearden home court advantage throughout the Region 2-AAA Tournament due to it being District 4-AAA’s year to host.
The Bulldogs will begin the region tournament on Saturday at 7 p.m., as they host Clinton (12-17), the fourth place finisher in the District 3-AAA Tournament.
All-Tournament Team: Stephney, Glover, and Pember – all sophomores – were named to the District 4-AAA All-Tournament team following the game. Stephney was named the tournament MVP, as he averaged 21 points per game in two tournament games.
First district tourney title in six years for Bearden: The win gave the Bulldogs their first victory in a district championship game since a 62-42 win over West in 2011. Bearden is officially the winner of the 2015 district tournament, but that championship game was never played. Repeated school closings due to winter weather cancelled the game, and Bearden was awarded the title that year due to having a better record in the regular season than the other remaining team, Heritage.
Bearden wins season series with Maryville: The district championship game win over the Rebels was the Bulldogs’ second in three games against Maryville this season, the first time Bearden has won multiple games over the Rebels in a season since the 2010-11 season. The Bulldogs finished as state runners-up that year.