The stakes are high for the Bevill State Bears heading into Thursday night’s ACCC North Division matchup against the Lawson State Cougars at Glen Clem Gymnasium.
Thanks to the Bears’ 64-63 come-from-behind victory over Snead State Monday night, Bevill State sits in second place in the North Division with a 9-3 record, with three teams — including Lawson State — tied for third with 7-5 records.
A win over the Cougars in the final home game of the season would not only certify a second-place finish for the ACCC Tournament, but give the Bears a shot to finish first with a pair of Shelton State losses.
“It’s a huge game for our team, our program and our school. The last two years, I think I can vouch for the other sophomores on our team to say the fans and the students here at Bevill have been really good to us,” sophomore captain Nelson Haskin said. “To be able to get that last home win with everything on the line would give them something to remember us by when we leave.”
Since conference play began in early January, the Bears have shown the ability to make clutch plays and rally from big deficits — with Monday’s win over Snead State being no exception.
Trailing by 15 points in the second half, Bevill State came back to win the game on a bucket from Latrell Tate, who led the Bears with 26 points. Korri Edwards added 17 points and Grant Perry had eight points.
The perseverance under pressure is a trademark the team’s sophomore leaders enjoy and take pride in.
“Everyone has come together and accepted their roles, while doing everything they can to improve ourselves. None of us can complain about the results we’ve seen and the growth we’ve experienced,” Edwards, another sophomore, said. “Our mentality is to look at each game as a big one, especially when we’re in conference play. I know I’m looking forward to the tournament and seeing what it will hold for us.”
“I’ve really enjoyed the season as a whole — watching how we’ve been able to come back after being down against teams at the beginning of the year I thought we wouldn’t be able to keep up with,” Haskin said. “I’ve really enjoyed it and playing to the best of my ability with my teammates.”
Statistically, several of the Bears’ leaders rank near or at the top in several categories — matching their results in getting wins in conference play.
Tate leads the conference in points per game at 26, as well as free-throw percentage at 86.9. Haskin, averaging a double-double per contest, leads the ACCC in rebounds with 10.7 and is second in blocks at three per game. Javon Duncan, one of the team’s defensive specialists, is fourth in steals at 1.9 per game, as well as second in assists at 6.2.
Thursday night’s game against Lawson State at Clem Gymnasium will tip-off at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast live on mountaineagle.com. Admission to the game is free.