Boys Varsity Basketball · Bulldogs’ balanced attack has the program one win away from returning to state tourney

The Bearden boys basketball team will continue its postseason run on Monday at home in a substate game against Jefferson County at 7 p.m.

The Bulldogs qualified for sub-state by beating Clinton 67-40 on Tuesday, then clinched home court advantage for the game with a 55-52 win over Oak Ridge on Thursday.

One of the strengths of this year’s team is that they are extremely balanced. Bearden often has three, four, sometimes even five players in or close to double figures. 

“We have a balanced attack, and that can be a great weapon for a coach,” Coach Jeremy Parrott said. “Teams and coaches may like to have those one or two dominant players, and a lot can be said for that dynamic. 

“However, when an opponent is unsure of where our output is coming from on any given night, that can make us a tough out. Having several guys we can depend on at both ends of the floor creates a level of trust within the guys that is fun to coach.”

With a lot of guys who contribute, Coach Parrott can go to a number of different players to make a play, especially when the Bulldogs need a basket late in a close game. 

“Having that dynamic within our personnel is certainly reassuring,” Coach Parrott said. “We never know how a game, stretch of games, or even a whole season will shake out.

“Because of that, having the peace of mind that we can depend on a deep bench makes us hopeful we can manage anything that arises.”

When a team gets this close to going to the state tournament, the players can’t help but be excited, but the Bulldogs are also zeroed in on getting the job done. 

“We are very confident in our abilities to win games,” senior guard A.J. Pruitt said. “We also are very prepared, and all we need to do now is execute.”

Added Parrot: “Over this last week, our team got over the game that ended their season a year ago, the Region semifinals. They have a great chance to make the state tournament. That has to be a great feeling for them.”