Franklin to host Bearden Border Wars tourney named for former coach


The Franklin County Lions will play Saturday at 8 p.m. The Lady Lions will play at 3:30 p.m. after a schedule change. Franklin County's girls were originally scheduled to play at 6:30 p.m.

  • J.B. Bearden
    J.B. Bearden

A total of 14 teams from 10 different schools in Georgia and South Carolina will join Franklin County in the first J.B. Bearden Border Wars Tournament beginning Saturday in Carnesville.

The pre-Thanksgiving tournament will hold all-day sessions Saturday, Monday and Tuesday in the Lion’s Den, with games beginning at 9:30 a.m. each day.

The tournament is named for Hall of Fame Coach J.B. Bearden.

Bearden won 1,164 games in his career, won two state championships, had seven state runner-up finishes and won 15 region championships.

He was the head coach at Franklin County for 16 years, where his Lady Lions won the 1976 state championship.

During his time at Franklin County, the girls’ team went on a 57-game winning streak and finished no worse than fourth in the state nine times, including four runner-up finishes to go with the state championship.

The Bearden Border Wars Tournament will have four girls’ games and four boys’ games each day.

On the girls’ side, the tournament will begin Saturday with Discovery from Lawrenceville facing Rockdale County at 9:30 a.m.

At 12:30 p.m., West Forsyth will play Westside, S.C., followed by the Franklin County Lady Lions and Wade Hampton, from Greenville, S.C., at 3:30 p.m.

Peachtree Ridge is scheduled to play Pendleton, S.C., at 6:30 p.m.

The Lady Lions were originally scheduled to play at 6:30 p.m., but the schedule had to be adjusted.

Monday’s and Tuesday’s games will be played at the same times, with matchups depending on who won and lost in the first round.

Rockdale, Discovery, West Forsyth and Peachtree Ridge all come from Class AAAAAAA, Georgia’s class for its biggest schools.

Wade Hampton is among South Carolina’s largest schools, from its Class 5A, while Pendleton, S.C., is in South Carolina’s 3A class.

The boys’ tournament will begin Saturday at 11 a.m., with Byrnes, S.C., facing Rockdale County.

Subsequent games will be Wade Hampton, S.C., against Madison County at 2 p.m. and Westside, S.C., against Elbert County at 5 p.m.

The Franklin County Lions will close out the night by facing Pendleton, S.C., at 8 p.m.

Wade Hampton will be highest ranked team in the boys’ tournament. The Generals were ranked No. 4 in South Carolina’s Class 5A in preseason polls.

Elbert County, from AA, was a Final Four team a year ago, and Franklin County advanced to the Elite Eight.

Byrnes is also in South Carolina’s largest classification, while Madison County is from Georgia’s Class AAAA.

Like the girls’ tournament, Monday and Tuesday games will be at the same times, with matchups based on first-round results.

Tickets will be $10 per day.