Bulldogs hope to learn from first game in rematch against West

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} As the Bearden boys basketball team looks ahead to Friday’s game against rival West, the Bulldogs can’t help but be reminded of their tough loss to the Rebels last month. For the rematch, the Bulldogs have the advantage of playing at home, an asset that the team greatly appreciates. And to hopefully contribute to the home court advantage, Bearden is making the game a whiteout. “I do think that playing at home will be a big factor – as long as there’s a good turnout,” sophomore guard Jack Graham said. “And with the whiteout, and if the fans get into it, I feel like it could help us a lot.” After the Bulldogs’ issues with turnovers in last month’s game against the Rebels, they are making ball security a focal point. And, as usual, they are preaching defense, rebounding, and hustle. “Turnovers were a big factor last game,” senior center Drew Standifer said. “And we’re going to have to play really good defense because they have really good guards, and they’re really athletic.” One of the game’s biggest matchups is between the two centers, Standifer and West’s Carson Brooks. The other Bulldogs will do all they can to help Standifer control the paint. “Tonight, I’m going to focus more on driving,” senior guard Daquan Wright said, “just because they have a really good center, and he’s really tall. “And I want to get him into foul trouble and get him out of the game.” Although Standifer will expectedly play an important role, the Bulldogs will look for added contributions from their bench to compete with the Rebels’ depth of talent. “Everybody else has to chip in, too,” Graham said. “Drew can’t be a one-man team and carry us because West has too much other talent.” The Bulldogs hope that a win Friday against some of the toughest competition in the area could help put them in a good position heading into the tail end of the season. “A win would definitely give us a lot of momentum, especially since West is probably the other best team in the league,” Graham said. Despite the Bulldogs’ ability to stay healthy this season, one injury may be a factor Friday. Bearden coach Mark Blevins, who has been battling illness all week, may or may not be coaching on the sidelines. But the importance of the rematch may be enough to help Coach Blevins fight his ailments and coach the Bulldogs from the sidelines. “He wants this win as much as we do, so I’m pretty sure he’ll do whatever it takes to coach us from the bench tonight,” Wright said. Aidan Sears is a staff writer for The Bark. Follow The Bark on Twitter @BeardenBARK and like The Bark (Bearden High School) on Facebook.