It was everything we thought it could be and more.
The stands were packed, the intensity was electric and Bearden came to play.
Don't let the score fool you, the Bulldogs were in it the whole game but could'nt hold on and Oak Hill escaped with a 96-86 victory in Knoxville.
Right from the jump the Bulldogs rode the emotion of the crowd and had a 23-20 lead at the end of the 1st quarter.
Oak Hill went on a slight run behind Virginia Tech signee MoMo Jones, who would finish with a game high 27. Jones connected on a bevy of threes, but the rush did'nt phase the Dogs as they used some key buckets from Dustin Craig and Demonte Simpson to keep the score respectable at the half (46-39).
The second half started the right way with Simpson scoring inside and the wing tandem of Nathan "Stat-Man" Parker and Blake Jenkins proving they were ever bit the athletic talent of the Oak Hill crew.
Jenkins rose high to swat a driving lay-up on an Oak Hill breakaway while Parker continuously challenged the Warriors on the interior.
Bearden had one more run left in them and used the sturdy shoulders of Simpson, who would finish the game with 25.
Cutting the lead to 84-76 with just over 2:00 to go the Bulldogs simply could not get over the proverbial hump and a final two handed slam by Parker concluded this epic battle.
The Bulldogs gave the Warriors one of their closest games of the season and should come away from this game confident they can compete on a high level with anyone in the state.
Jenkins finished the game with 15 points and continues to improve his effort and hustle. He had numerous tough drives off the dribble and even connected on a three. Parker regained his stat-man status finishing with 12 points and a veritable potpourri of boards, blocks, assists and steals. This was the Nathan Parker, I saw all summer.
Dustin Craig also finished with 12 points for Bearden.
This was a wonderful team effort and the sophomore class made their mark not showing any fear against one of the most high profile squads in the country. Galen Campbell, Rico White, Dion Fair, Ty Greene and Jaeland Lawson all did their part in this contest.
For the Warriors, Jones led with 27 while Oklahoma signee Keith "Tiny" Gallon finished with 26 and junior Deron Lamb added 24.