Blount Press Row

The Bearden Stopper?

Bulldogs enter postseason fearsome, 29-1 machine

Maryville’s Jacob Giles gets set at the free-throw line during a game at William Blount this season. Photos by Wallace Bowden

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

The District 4AAA high school basketball tournament tips off this evening at Lenoir City High School, and the question on everyone’s mind: Is Bearden really that good?

Rebel sophomore Joe Anderson eyes the defense during a recent game.

You bet.

The Bulldogs, with a pair of regular season games yet to play, ran the table against district competition in 2017-18, a 16-0 wipeout where only a single opponent got within a bucket. Bearden’s 75.5 points per game ranks eighth on the latest tables.

The Bulldogs’ only loss came in a 58-55 decision to Columbus (Miss.) in the semifinals of the Arby’s Classic in December.

About that team that got within a bucket …

Maryville’s Rebels were 13-3 in district play in finishing runners up. They’ve got some ball players.

Barley’s/BPR Preseason Player of the Year Joe Anderson is the real deal. Swingman Jacob Giles is a vastly underrated inside/outside scoring threat. A deep backcourt of Christian Gale, DaVon Kimble, A.J. Davis, Emilio Cornelio and Anderson is plenty athletic, and they can all shoot it.

Senior Byron Brown, defensive MVP of the football state championship game, ranks with the best athletes around the basket at any school in the league.

The Rebels played the Bulldogs to within a trey, 63-60, in the district regular season finale last week.

Jordan Tarver, Joseph Ridenour and Jeremiah Murrell, left to right, are part of an all-for-one, one-for-all Governors club poised to surprise quite a few teams.

BPR’s sleeper pick is William Blount’s Governors.

Point guard Jeremiah Murrell could start in anybody’s backcourt. Destin Deering is that rare big man these days who can actually score at the basket. Jordan Tarver has the size, athleticism and all-court game to turn a contest all by himself.

That’s not what makes these Governors so tough, though. William Blount goes 10-deep. Legitimately. When 10 guys will ball that hard for each other, look out.

A late surge by the Governors lifted William Blount into a fourth-place finish in the district standings.

District 4AAA Boys Tournament

Feb. 12-20
at Lenoir City


Lenoir City 39, Heritage 34


Farragut 66, West 46
Lenoir City 59, Hardin Valley 56


Wm Blount 79, Lenoir City 48
Catholic 56, Farragut 50


Bearden 56, Wm Blount 43
Maryville 59, Catholic 41


Catholic 77, Wm Blount 64

Bearden 67, Maryville 58

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