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Hampton subdues North in Watauga Valley matchup

Jeff Birchfield • Jan 3, 2020 at 10:20 PM

HAMPTON — Hampton showed that its bite is much worse than its bark Friday night at Van Huss-White Gymnasium.

After falling behind 8-1 to Sullivan North at the start of the game, the Bulldogs roared back with 15 straight points on their way to a convincing 81-57 Watauga Valley Conference boys basketball victory.

Twelve players scored for Hampton. Jordan Bentley led with 13 points, and Conor Jones had 11 points and nine assists. Caleb Oaks also netted 11 points. Matt Hughes and Izaak Hill each scored nine.

Their deep bench allowed the Bulldogs to keep up the pressure on defense.

“We had a couple of players with the virus, so we kept subbing guys off our bench and the bench played well,” said Hampton coach Ned Smith. “We came out kind of sluggish, but our defense stepped up, put more pressure on the ball, got some turnovers and turned it into good offense.”

Part of that good offense was also the fact the Bulldogs shared the ball to the tune of 21 assists.

After responding with its first big run, Hampton led 18-11 at the end of the first quarter. The Bulldogs took a 38-25 lead into the half then opened the third quarter with a 14-2 run for a 52-29 lead.

North (9-6, 1-2) tried to mount a comeback, but Nathan Wilson hit a dagger of a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Bulldogs a 59-40 lead heading into the final period. The Bulldogs then scored the first 10 points of the fourth to put the game completely out of reach.

Trey Williams led North with 13 points. C.J. Mardis scored 11 points, Christian Hill 10 and Bryant Herron eight.

“We didn’t play well and we didn’t match their intensity,” North coach Travis Cain said. “We have to do a better job all the way around and be mentally tougher. They’re tough because they’re so deep. They’ve got eight kids mainly in their rotation, but they went 10 deep pretty early.”

LADY BULLDOGS BREAK OUT EARLY

The Lady Bulldogs (4-12, 1-1) scored the first 10 points and led the rest of the way in a 38-25 win over the Lady Raiders (4-7, 1-2).

Hampton’s Hazen Brumitt was a force inside and scored a game-high 15 points. Hannah Collins totaled 10 points and Linsey Jenkins contributed six.

“She needed a good game,” Hampton coach Bud Hazelwood said of Brumitt. “We’ve been after her about not using the backboard, getting the ball above the rim and mainly posting below the block. It was one of her better games tonight.

“We got out to the early lead and sometimes when you get the early lead, you think it’s going to be easy and lose the momentum. We stayed locked in with our defense except for fouling too much. They had 25 points and 11 were from the free-throw line, but we’re making strides.”

Lily Crawford hit a 3-point shot near the end of the first quarter to cut North’s deficit to 16-7. Hampton clamped down on the defensive end in the second quarter when the Lady Raiders’ only scores came on a pair of free throws. The score was 23-9 at halftime.

Maddie Winters finished with eight points to lead North and Crawford added seven.