KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Bearden girls’ basketball returned this season on the heels of winning their first ever state championship. The Bulldogs haven’t had a loss in over a year, January 1st, 2022 to be exact.

Legendary seasons can be a tough act to follow, Bearden girls’ basketball took the court this year motivated to show they belong.

“After last season a lot of people kind of assumed we weren’t gonna be that great this season.. and so I think with a lot of the younger girls especially and me as well that we felt we had to prove ourselves to all these people who said after we lost all these people that we were gonna have nothing,” said senior Avery Treadwell.

Securing a 21-0 record is a pretty impressive way to say we’re a championship caliber team. It’s in the close games that Bearden has fought through where they’ve leaned on the glue that holds them together: Avery Treadwell.

“It’s tough enough to lead by example, but also lead with voice and she’s earned that respect, the girls listen to her, she can demand excellence out of them and they are willing to play harder for her,” said head coach Justin Underwood.

Treadwell is the team’s sole senior, when you have her type of leadership at the top, backed by longevity and experience, the trickle effect it has to the rest of the team is irreplaceable.

“For them to have the ability to fight for one another and to play for the one next to you, you know that’s a lost art in this day and age where everything is so me focused centered and individual centered and for these girls to play for each other and just what they’re becoming as a team is pretty exciting is watch,” said Underwood.

Together the girls go into every game with a purpose to win rather than a focus of staying undefeated.