Smith looks to build off historic double-double, continue stellar start

Junior+Jason+Smith+pulls+down+a+rebound+during+Bearden%27s+70-41+win+over+Lenoir+City+on+Tuesday.

Taylor A. Johnson

Junior Jason Smith pulls down a rebound during Bearden’s 70-41 win over Lenoir City on Tuesday.

Tyler Hotz, Staff Writer

Nothing catches a basketball fan’s attention like statistics – scoring X number of points or grabbing so many rebounds – but one of the most impressive is the double-double, which is recording at least 10 points and, normally, 10 rebounds.

Junior Jason Smith scoffs at the bare minimums of this statistical category. In a November matchup against Campbell County, Smith recorded 38 points and 23 rebounds.

Just as a reminder, high school basketball games are only 32 minutes long.

“That is the highest I have ever scored and the most rebounds I have ever gotten [in a game],” Smith said. “I have had a couple 30-point games, but none like that.”

Bearden has had many great players, including some who have made it to the D-1 level. Even with this outstanding talent, there have not been many individual performances quite as special as Smith’s.

“The 38-point, 23-rebound performance was one of the two best we have ever had in the history of the program,” Coach Mark Blevins said. “He just played relentless.

“He scored in every way possible.”

Smith looks to build on his solid start when the Bulldogs (9-0, 1-0 District 4-AAA) take on West (3-3, 0-1) on Thursday in a rivalry game that will impact the district standings. The girls tip at 6 p.m., and the boys will follow at 7:30.

“We beat them both times last year, and it would be great to sweep them again this year,” senior Adam Fulcher said. “West and Farragut are our two biggest rivalries, so it would be great to win those games.”

Added Smith: “There is always added importance because it is a rivalry. There are bragging rights behind it, and there is always something behind it.”

Smith has recorded five double-doubles this season, and he has scored more than 30 twice; he posted 31 points against Scott County last Friday.

“We try to feed the guy who is hot that night,” Coach Blevins said. “Going into the season we didn’t know who our star players would be.

“As of now, it has turned out to be the two juniors [point guard Quez Fair and Smith].”

The Smith family has been a Bearden bloodline for years now. Smith’s two brothers Brady and Andrew have also come through the Bearden basketball program.

Coach Blevins is thankful and appreciative of how good the Smith family has been to Bearden.

The main aspect that has helped spark Smith’s breakout performance is his great energy and willingness to improve. Teammates have cited his improvement and also how he has gotten stronger throughout his career.

“He doesn’t ever take a play off,” Fulcher said. “He always volunteers to do the extra work.

“He is a junior captain and that means a lot.”