Bearden’s girls basketball team is looking strong thus far in the season, winning six of their first seven.
The Lady Bulldogs knew it would be a challenge to replace last year’s graduates Trinity Lee and Grace van Rij, who went on to play for King University and Furman, respectively. Lee scored over 1,600 points in her time at Bearden.
“[Y]ou don’t expect it to be just one person to fill that role,” Coach Underwood said.
But Coach Underwood has asked senior Annaka Hall to increase her scoring role for the Lady Bulldogs (6-1, 1-1 District 4-AAA), and she’s answered the call – averaging 16 a game and making more than half her 3-point attempts to start the season.
Hall credits the team for helping her score more.
“I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job stepping up,” Hall said. “Trinity did leave a lot behind for me to fill, but as a team they’ve pushed me to be better.”
Hall is one of four seniors on the team, and Coach Underwood believes the bond of the seniors has helped them on the court.
“They’ve played together for so long, they’ve known each other for so long, so I think it’s kind of like playing with sisters almost,” Coach Underwood said. “They each have different strengths, and so each one of them is doing their thing not trying to do anything extra.
“They simply bring what they have to the table.”
Bearden did lose its first game of the season on Tuesday, 51-43, to district rival William Blount (4-2, 2-0), but they’ll get a chance to get a league win when they host Hardin Valley (0-5, 0-2) tonight at 6.
One of the team’s key factors this season has been the defense. Bearden has limited offenses to fewer than 40 points in every game except one this season.
“We play really good defense, and we really work together very well,” Hall said. “We have really good team chemistry, which most teams really don’t have.
“We usually do a good job of talking on defense and just playing together as one team.”
Hall believes the team can continue to be successful if they are able to keep their concentration.
“We really need to keep talking on defense and stay focused, not get frustrated, and just work together,” Hall said. “We need to be leaders on and off the court.”