Bearden boys basketball kicked off its season Tuesday night in the Knoxville Area Jamboree and will play its first official game tomorrow at home against Morristown East.
The Bulldogs had a historical season last year, getting the school record for wins with 38 and eventually losing in the state semifinals to eventual state champs Memphis East.
If Bearden is able to reach state again this season, senior guard Ques Glover will look even more to the leadership of Coach Jeremy Parrott.
“I feel like last year in the heat of the moment we stopped listening to coach and tried to do things out own way,” Glover said. “If we can get back to [the state tournament], we need to calm down, come together as a team more, and listen to coach.”
Although the Bulldogs fell to Memphis East last year, senior guard Trent Stephney is looking to prove that his team is the best in the state.
“Right now, everybody is saying Memphis [East] is still the best around here in basketball, but I think we are the best basketball team this year,” Stephney said. “I think we’re going to play to show everyone what we’ve got.”
The state tournament is still a few months away, and in the meantime, the Bulldogs will look to start their season out with a victory over Morristown East on Wednesday night at home at 7:30 after the girls tipoff at 6.
One thing that Coach Parrott is hoping will help his team get back to state is the Bulldogs’ difficult schedule.
“We’re looking at probably the hardest schedule in school history,” Coach Parrott said. “With the trip to Mississippi in two weeks, with the Arby’s [Classic], and going to Memphis in January.
Some of the team’s hardest games will be in the Lighthouse Classic in Mississippi next week. The tournament includes several nationally ranked teams. The Bulldogs are currently ranked 52nd nationally, according to MaxPreps.
“It’s important that you have those kinds of games along the way, so you don’t have those games for the first time in the state tournament,” Coach Parrott said.
Although the team’s schedule will be difficult, the real challenges start off the court, with several injuries. Senior Drew Pember will be playing limited minutes and senior Shamarcus Brown will be out for the beginning portion of the season.
The players don’t have a timeline of when they will be ready to take the court, so senior Kordell Kah will look to step into a bigger role in the post for the start of the season.
“Personally, I want to overcome the injuries that we’re going to have to start the year because I’m going to have to take a bigger role on the team,” Kah said. “There’s not another big until the injuries come back.”