Who would have expected anything more.
Two of the top teams in all of East Tennessee doing battle to see where they stand.
From the look of things they both stand very tall.
Bearden overcame a furious Falcon rally and outlasted the AA power 82-75 in overtime.
The game was a back and forth affair with both teams sharing the lead at various points of the game. Fulton came out strong behind sophomore Jalen Steele (Fulton) and took the early first quarter lead but never got to far ahead as Bearden junior Gabriel Campbell (Bearden) hit a shot to bring the Bulldogs to within four and kept making key baskets in the first half when the Falcons appeared to be running away.
With the contest tied at the half ,the third quarter was a show with Bearden outscoring the Falcons 20-18 and taking the slight lead into the final stanza. Demonte Simpson (Bearden) scored on inside power moves and tough lay-in to keep the game close, while Fulton's Steele and James Gallman (Fulton) got their score on as well.
The fourth quarter proved no different as Bearden junior Nathan "Stat-Man" Parker lived up to his billing scoring buckets, grabbing boards and setting teammates up with nice dishes. Fulton kept the game in hand with timely buckets from Steele and Dominique Williams.
Blake Jenkins got the crowd stirrd with a wicked put back slam and Bearden appeared to have seized the momentum and were ready to stick the dagger in..but wait a couple of well timed steals by Shannon Hollingswoth and a couple of huge foul shots from Dominique Minor knotted things at 65.
Mr. Campbell was mmm good as he dropped a couple of charity tosses and gave Bearden the lead with 12.2 on the clock.
Showtime for J.S. Steele took the pass on the left wing and proceeded to the top of the key where he calmly launched and drained three of his game high 26 with a sic jumper and presto the game was headed into extra innings.
The overtime caused more of the same the Bearden depth causing problems for the vertically challenged Falcons. Jenkins had a huge block to squash a Fulton rally and Stat-Man finished things with a couple more buckets and another sweet dime to Campbell.
Steele led the Falcons with 26 and had plently of support from Williams, Gallman and an inspired effort from senior post Will Bryant. Bearden had balance once again with Simpson getting 17, Parker 16 along with 10 boards, 6 assists, a block and a steal. Campbell was tough with 19 large and classmate Dustin Craig came up big in the extra session as well.