Lady Bulldogs come from behind to top Lenoir City in double overtime

Aidan Sears

@font-face { font-family: "ヒラギノ角ゴ Pro W3"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }em { }p.HeaderFooter, li.HeaderFooter, div.HeaderFooter { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; color: black; }p.Body, li.Body, div.Body { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; color: black; }p.body0, li.body0, div.body0 { margin-right: 0in; margin-left: 0in; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; } The Lady Bulldogs pulled off a dramatic victory Friday night, beating Lenoir City 56-52 in double overtime. Sophomore Erin Walsh led Bearden with 20 points, despite struggling to make long-range shots in the first half. She didn’t let that deter her from burying a 3-pointer to give Bearden a 42-40 lead late in regulation and another that put the Lady Bulldogs up 53-50 in the second overtime. “I got confidence, and my team encouraged me,” Walsh said. “So I kept shooting, and they fell.” Walsh also hit several 3-pointers as Bearden (18-4, 11-1 District 4) fought its way back from a 26-17 deficit midway through the third quarter. She made the final two free throws of the game with 11.6 seconds remaining to make it a two-possession game. “I can’t speak enough about her,” Coach Justin Underwood said. “She struggled so much in the first half, and she was able to keep her head up and keep shooting.” After they secured their lead, the Lady Bulldogs relied on senior guard Jai Jai McLaughlin, who scored 19 on the night, to handle the ball and run out the clock. “There’s nobody else who we would want to have the ball in their hands,” Coach Underwood said. “She does such a good job with it, and she’s earned that right, just by her hard work.” The Lady Bulldogs’ success in extra time came in large part from their defense and their ability to cause turnovers. Because they stayed out of foul trouble, they were able to defend Lenoir City (9-12, 5-7) aggressively. “We were talking about fouling before they went up for a shot, if we had to,” McLaughlin said. “And we had to play great defense.” Bearden will clinch first place in the district with a win or a Farragut loss next week. The Lady Bulldogs play Maryville (13-8, 8-4) on Tuesday and Farragut (16-4, 9-3) on Friday, both at Bearden. Bearden 72, Lenoir City 46: The Bulldogs avenged a Jan. 10 loss to Lenoir City behind 22 points from senior Drew Standifer and a standout defensive performance from Allan Pirie. The primary difference in the two meetings was the Bulldogs’ ability to defend junior Jordan Hall, who scored 27 in the first matchup. The Bulldogs’ defense held Hall to seven Friday, all of those points coming in the second half with the game out of reach. “Defensively, we were phenomenal tonight, and I thought that started with Allan Pirie,” Coach Mark Blevins said. After a competitive first quarter that left the Bulldogs (16-7, 9-3) with a 14-10 lead, Bearden went into halftime ahead of Lenoir City 37-21. Standifer did most of his work after being fouled, as he finished 12-of-12 from the free throw line. As a team, the Bulldogs shot 25-of-28 from the line. “They had to stop me somehow, so they ended up fouling me a lot,” Standifer said. “And whenever I go to the free throw line, I have to hit those free throws down.” Bearden will look to lock up second place in the district with a win at home against Maryville (14-6, 9-3) on Tuesday. The Bulldogs won the first meeting with the Rebels 64-49. Aidan Sears is a staff writer for The Bark. Follow The Bark on Twitter @BeardenBARK and like The Bark (Bearden High School) on Facebook.