The Bulldogs won 82-61, once again led by two of the best guards of the tournament. Trent Stephney scored 29 points and Ques Glover finished with 24.
The trash-talking duo got rolling late in the second quarter and never looked back.
“Getting in the zone like that is a great feeling and all the hard work is paying off,” Glover said. “We can almost read each other’s minds.”
The Bulldogs got the game at the pace they wanted it near the end of the first half when Glover went on a flurry of 13 points and put Bearden up 49-36 at halftime. That tally included a 31-point second quarter.
Shemarcus Brown had 12 and Tyler Nordin netted 10 for Bearden, which shot an eye-popping 57.8 percent from the field and committed only eight turnovers.
“The frustrating part about this season is that we went to Mississippi and didn’t have Roman (Robinson) or Shemarcus. Drew (Pember) could only play limited minutes and there were two of our losses this season,” Bearden coach Jeremy Parrott said. “In the other game that we lost, Kordell Kah got kicked out with two technicals four minutes in. We have not had a practice or a game this year where we have not had at least one person missing. God is teaching me patience or something.”
The Eagles found foul trouble late in the half. Jordan Meka picked up his third and Stanley Eze got his fourth on a backcourt foul with his substitute at the table ready to come in.
Mount Bethel’s offense was never the same once Eze went out.
Meka finished with 23 points. Coleman Boyd had 18 and Jayce Harrison scored 13.
“I made a mistake in the first half with the wrong person guarding Glover. He got going and scored 22,” said Mount Bethel coach Cal Boyd, whose team gave up a season high in points. “I put a young guy on him that I thought could stay with him and he wasn’t ready for that. In the second half, we had the right guy on him, but (Stephney) got going. They’re a tough duo to guard for sure.”
Bearden plays Wenonah (Ala.) on Saturday in the second semifinal matchup, scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m.
Mount Bethel moved into the fifth-place bracket to face Orem (Utah) at 1:30 p.m.
Buford (Ga.) 55, Cardinal Newman (S.C) 44
In a high-energy game that featured tons of athleticism on both sides, the Wolves got past the Cardinals and advanced to Saturday night’s semifinals.
Marcus Watson, who has committed to Oklahoma State, was the difference for Buford. Watson’s blend of speed, athleticism and bounce was a little too much for the Cardinals to handle, and he finished with 26 points.
Donell Nixton provided the outside weaponry for Buford, totaling 17 points after knocking down five 3-pointers.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Cardinal Newman —down 47-41 — seemed to be building momentum after Johnson missed a slam dunk, but the Cardinals had a series of four turnovers that cost them.
Chico Carter Jr. scored 15 points and Josh Beadle had 11 to lead the Cardinals.
The Wolves take on Carmel Christian of North Carolina at 7 p.m. in the first semifinal.
Cardinal Newman meets Trinity (Ky.) in the fifth-place bracket at noon.
Morristown East 74, Tennessee High 59
Guard play was the major difference in Morristown East’s win over the Vikings.
Senior and 1,500-point scorer Conner Jordan led the Hurricanes with 29 points and his counterpart, Cameron Rymer, finished with 23.
Freshman post Braden Ilic also hit double figures, finishing with 13 points for the Hurricanes, who hit 7 of 14 shots from the 3-point line and shot an eye-popping 60.4 percent overall.
Christian Webb had 14 points and Nolan Wishon and McHale Bright each scored 10 to lead Tennessee High.
The Vikings outrebounded the ’Canes 32-27 but shot just 35 percent.
Morristown East takes on Dobyns-Bennett on Saturday at 9 a.m.
Tennessee High was eliminated.
Sullivan East 69, Tabernacle Baptist 57
The Patriots’ constant pressure got to the Falcons to help Sullivan East advance in losers’ bracket play.
A balanced attack — powered by 20 points from Dustin Bartley and 17 from Adam Davison — combined with 20 forced turnovers to put the Patriots over the top.
Tabernacle got 21 points from Romad Dean and 12 from Joshua Dames. Dean also hauled down 10 rebounds to record the double-double.
The Patriots play Gate City on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. for a spot in Monday’s sixth-place game.
Tabernacle gets a rematch with Union on Monday in the consolation game.