Bearden’s second meeting of the season with Class AAA’s No. 1 ranked team Oak Ridge didn’t stay quite as close as the first of the season for the Bulldogs.
Just over three months after their first meeting, Bearden (21-9) was unable to keep up with fast-paced Oak Ridge (29-2), finishing runner-up in Region 2-AAA after an 86-73 loss on Thursday night at Oak Ridge High School.
Back in November, the Bulldogs fell to Oak Ridge, 66-63. That win was tied for the closest of the season for the Wildcats, who have only lost to out-of-state teams.
Despite the loss, Bearden is still alive in the postseason. The top two finishers in every region advance to the sectional round.
The Bulldogs will travel to Science Hill (26-9) on Monday night for their first sectional round game in six years. The winner of that game will advance to the state tournament, which begins on March 15.
Early on, Bearden was able to keep pace with the high flying Wildcats, trailing 22-17 at the end of one quarter.
In the second quarter, Oak Ridge’s quickness on both ends of the floor took over.
Bearden was held without a field goal for over four minutes to start the second quarter, and fell behind by 14 points going into the break.
The Bulldogs never got closer than eight points during the second half, but also played pretty evenly with the Wildcats in the final two quarters, outscoring Oak Ridge by one in the second half.
Trent Stephney led Bearden in scoring with 23 points, his fifth straight game with at least 20 points.
Ques Glover finished with 21, while Roman Robinson added 13.
Region 2-AAA All-Tournament Team: Three Bearden sophomores – Stephney, Glover, and Robinson – all earned All-Tournament honors for the Region 2-AAA Tournament. Stephney averaged 23.7 points per game over three tournament games, while Glover averaged 22 and Robinson averaged 12.7.
Recent success in sectionals for Bearden: Bearden has won three straight sectional round games, dating back to 2009. All three of those games were played at Bearden High School. Bearden has lost their last two road sectional games.
Struggles against No. 1 teams: Bearden has won 11 of its past 13 games, and both of the losses have come to No. 1 ranked teams. Catholic (Class AA) beat the Bulldogs on Feb. 10, 67-63, and Oak Ridge (Class AAA) beat Bearden in the region finals on Thursday.