Bearden hosts Central on Saturday night at 7 in the first round of the region tournament, after losing to Maryville in the District 4-AAA tournament championship game Tuesday.
Maryville’s Joe Anderson had 29 points, and Bearden’s Elijah Bredwood had 25 points.
Hayden Treadwell, A.J. Pruitt, and Bredwood made the all-tournament team for the Bulldogs. Pruitt has really had to step into a leading role this postseason with senior forward Tyler Nordin out for the season with a torn ACL.
“I just know there is some stuff that needs to get done for the team, so someone has to do it,” Pruitt said. “I’m the one.”
Cahlib Edwards also went out against Maryville in the second half with inflamed tendonitis in the knee. This resulted in guards Bredwood and DeMias Munsey really having to step up and contribute key minutes for Bearden on both the offensive and defensive ends.
“When you start getting three-deep into your guard rotation this time of the year, you need somebody to step up and score, but ultimately we’ve got to shorten the holes up defensively,” Coach Jeremy Parrott said.
Defense is going to be a key component in the region tournament, as Bearden faces elimination games for the first time this postseason.
“I really feel like the biggest concern I took away from last night was our inability to guard them; We’ve got to do a better job of that,” Coach Parrott said. “You can’t give up 70 points in 32 minutes and win a basketball game.”
Bearden also will need to keep up their fast-paced and high-scoring offense, so performances from players like Bredwood, Pruitt, Treadwell, and Walker Kyle will be key to the continuation of this postseason run.
The health of Edwards is also still in question. If he plays on Saturday, it is clear that the lone starting senior will play a major role in the team’s offensive and defensive success.
Although the loss on Tuesday was tough, it should be noted that this team has no place being labeled an underdog or being counted out as the region tournament starts this weekend. Bearden has already had a successful season, but the Bulldogs aren’t ready for it to be over.
“We aren’t satisfied with that, though, injured or not injured,” Coach Parrott said. “Our regular season résumé has gotten us this far; now it’s up to us to find ways as a staff to put these guys in a position to win.”