Back To Back: Maryville pushes Bearden around for second-straight District 4-AAA title
By Grant Ramey | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
All Mark Eldridge and his Maryville basketball team needed was a film session — a film session before Monday afternoon’s practice, reviewing the last time the Rebels played Bearden to see just how much they got pushed around.
Maryville didn’t get pushed around Tuesday night.
The Rebels held top-seeded Bearden to 14 first-half points and never trailed, weathering a Bulldog run to start the second half and staying at arm’s length for a 60-49 win in the District 4-AAA Tournament championship game at Heritage.
“We watched film of our last game,” Eldridge said of his team’s 53-44 loss to Bearden on Jan. 29. “We felt like it was the worst game we played all year, I mean, not taking anything away from Bearden. We were bad in a lot of areas. And I thought tonight our guys, after watching some film, had something to prove and defend.”
What Maryville ended up defending was it’s District 4-AAA Tournament title, winning it for the second year in a row behind a team-high 15 points from T.J. Kimble and 13 each from John Garrett and Clark McCall.
Garrett defended his title as Tournament MVP, too, being handed the hardware after the game for the second year running. McCall and Kimble were named to the All-Tournament team.
“The last time we played them at home we weren’t physcial, we got pushed around,” Garrett said. “We watched film yesterday before we went out and practiced and we noticed how lethargic we were and not physical.”
Maryville’s zone made Bearden look lethargic in the first half, holding the Bulldogs to 6 first-quarter points and 8 second-quarter points on just two made field goals. The rest of the Bearden points came from making eight of 11 foul shots.
Meanwhile the second-seeded Rebels were building a 14-point halftime lead behind 7 first-half points from Garrett, 5 from McCall and 5 from Isaac Edmiston.
But basketball is a game of runs, and Bearden made its run out of the locker room.
Brady Smith had 4 quick Bearden points to start the third quarter before 3-pointers from Jack Graham and Sam Greene, turning Maryville’s 28-14 lead into a two-possession game with a 10-0 run.
“We knew they would make some more shots,” Eldridge said. “But once they cut it 3 or 4, we made some plays to take the lead again.
“I thought defensively we were good all night.”
“We knew it was coming,” Garrett added, “but Coach E told us to keep our composure and keep fighting, and that’s what we did.”
McCall answered with a bucket to help get that composure back.
“Bearden is too good of team not to make a run,” Eldridge said. “But we’re too good of a team not to counter that run.”
McCall continued the counter punch with a trey after a pair of Bearden free throws to extend the lead before Kimble went to the line for two, making it 36-27.
Bearden wouldn’t get closer than 5 the rest of the way.
Garrett was fouled on a made 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter, converting the 4-point play at the line before Kimble added a bucket to build the lead back to 10.
“We probably played man half the night,” Eldridge said of his team’s defense. “We sagged on certain guys, but I thought we did a tremendous job on their three scorers. We limited Graham, (Adarius) Wilson and Smith inside for most of then night. And I thought that was the key.”
Graham and Smith finished with 7 each. Wilson had 5.
“I thought our goal defensively was accomplished,” Eldridge said.
Tuesday night’s defensive goal helped Maryville defend its District title. But that title isn’t the goal.
Maryville will host Clinton Saturday night to start the Region 2-AAA tournament.
“Tonight was important, but then again tonight is over,” Eldridge said of the Rebels going back-to-back.
“We have a big one Saturday night.”
District 4-AAA Tournament
Boys Championship at Heritage
NO. 2 MARYVILLE 60, NO. 1 BEARDEN 49
M 14 14 11 21 — 60
B 6 8 19 16 — 49
MARYVILLE (24-6)— T.J. Kimble 15, John Garrett 13, Clark McCall 13, Bryan Landers 6, Adrian Page 6, Isaac Edmiston 5, Nick Myers 2.
BEARDEN (26-5)— Sam Greene 16, Isaiah Campbell 12, Jack Graham 7, Brady Smith 7, Adarius Wilson 5, Austin Dunkin 2.
3-POINTERS— Maryville 6 (Page 2, McCall 2, Edmiston 1, Garrett 1); Bearden 3 (Greene 1, Campbell 1, Graham 1)