BHS boys basketball ready for season despite lack of experience

Last year, the Bearden basketball team relied heavily on their talented senior class. Once those seniors graduated, they left behind a team not lacking in talent, but lacking in experience. This year, the Bulldogs are faced with transitioning to a new team that has to learn a new identity, completely different from last year. “A lot of our practices are completely dedicated to learning the new plays,” junior guard Jack Graham said. “And you can kind of feel a difference on the floor.” Much of Bearden’s roster had only limited playing time last year, with the exception of Graham, who started for most of the season. Junior Isaiah Campbell and seniors Sam Greene and Brady Smith saw an increase in minutes near the end of the season, but the current roster is still working on finding team chemistry. “In these last three games we’ve played, we’ve been inconsistent with the way our scores have been,” Campbell said. “And a lot of it is learning the plays and getting to know (each player’s style of play) and the ways that they can score.” Along with this inexperience comes what Coach Mark Blevins believes to be the primary struggle for Bearden so far this season. “Number one is we hope to gain as much basketball IQ as possible,” Coach Blevins said. “That’s the biggest deficiency we have: not really understanding where to make the next pass or defensively getting lost from time to time.” The Bulldogs are also hoping to adapt to a more balanced, motion offense. Last year, they often found themselves running their offense through Drew Standifer or Daquan Wright, but this year, Coach Blevins says they do not have “that star player” for the team to rely on. “You’ve got to change your whole offense and make everybody have a way to score because you don’t have that one star to go to who can score every time,” Campbell said. “You’ve got to work through your guards and wings and posts to score every time.” Without one standout star, the Bulldogs know that in every game, team intensity is more important than ever. “We have to be as intense as we possibly can,” Coach Blevins said, “and we’ve got to play as hard as we can to be able to compete. They have to collectively play their best night in and night out for us to have a chance to win.” Despite this lack of experience and individual standouts, Bearden has high hopes for this season. They are fighting for a district championship, and hope to see themselves playing in the state tournament. Aidan Sears is the sports editor for The Bark. Follow The Bark on Twitter @BeardenBARK, and like The Bark (Bearden High School) on Facebook.