Senior basketball players look to continue Bearden’s winning tradition

Tyler Hotz, Staff Writer

Bearden’s boys basketball program has won 25 district titles – regular season and tournament, combined – in the past 22 seasons.

This year, the Bulldogs will look to a tandem of four seniors – Jake Elkins, Austin Duncan, Samuel Phillips, and Adam Fulcher – to continue that prolonged success.

“It’s awesome [to be a senior]; we have waited all these years to be seniors,” Fulcher said. “I have played with these guys for four years now, and they are like my best friends.

“We are really excited for the season.”

Added Duncan: “These four years have gone by fast, and it should be a fun senior year.”

Last season, Bearden finished 21-10 (11-3 District 4-AAA) and retained their district crown for the second consecutive season.

Bearden opens the season this Thursday in the Hall of Fame tournament against Grace Christian.

The goal this season is the usual projection for Bearden; they want to retain their district title and strive for state.

“When you look (at the banners in the gymnasium) you see championships from just about every year, and we are trying to be the best we can be,” Coach Mark Blevins said.

Eight of the 11 top players from the 2013-2014 campaign return this season. Senior leadership cannot be underestimated, but young talent also looks to contribute to the Bulldog’s run for a district title.

Talented freshmen along with summer camp standout junior Quez Fair shows great potential that could add to Bearden’s already talented roster.

The one potential obstacle in the way of Bearden’s success is injury. Three of the four seniors have missed some time during their career due to various injuries.

“Staying healthy is the major key for our team this year,” Fulcher said.

With their best foot forward and a stroke of healthy luck, Bearden could again capture the district crown and dance their way back to the state tournament for the first time since 2011.