Stout nets 32 in losing effort for Lady 'Dogs

By Matt Hill

   Kari Stout's performance against Sullivan Central can be compared to a stock car driver racing in an event. She sure didn't know how to slow down.
   Hampton's Stout put on an amazing second half display, but it wasn't enough as the Lady Cougars knocked off the Lady Bulldogs 45-42 in a battle of Watauga Conference preseason favorites at Van-Huss White Gym.
   Stout scored 32 of her team's 42 points, and netted 27 of those in the second half. She also hit five three-pointers.
   Stout definitely caught the eye of Sullivan Central head coach Gary Surcey.
   "I don't know what the girl's name is, but she's phenomenal," Surcey said about Stout. "She can shoot the rock."
   Stout, who was an integral part of Hampton's state tournament team last year in Class A, admitted she had never been on fire like that before.
   "Not really," Stout said when asked if she had ever been in a zone like that. "I just shoot it, and hope it goes in. If it does it's God's will it went in."
   It was a slow start for Stout and Hampton, but Stout did show late in the first half what the second stanza was going to be like.
   Sullivan Central went on an 11-0 run starting late in the first quarter to lead 18-6 with 2:40 to go in the half.
   "They got the jump on us, and we put ourselves in a hole," Hampton head coach Leslie Campbell said. "We have to play four quarters, especially against this team and we didn't."
   Stout hit a late trey with 1:09 left in the first half to cut Central's advantage to 18-11 at the break. It was all her show after that.
   Stout dominated the third quarter, as she poured in 18 points in that frame. As a result, Sullivan Central's edge started dwindling, and Hampton took its first lead at 31-29 in the final minute of the third stanza.
   Stout may have put up most of the numbers in the third quarter, but she was quick to give credit to her teammates.
   "We win as a team, and we lose as a team," Stout said. "I think everybody helped out in the third quarter. There the ones giving me the passes, so it all comes down to the team."
   The lead was short lived for Hampton, as the Cougars tied the game at 31-31 before the fourth quarter began. Then Central went on a 7-0 run to begin the frame to pull ahead 38-31 with 4:30 left to go in the contest.
   Stout did all she could to lead the Bulldogs back again, as a three-pointer with four seconds left cut Central's lead down to 43-42.
   But Central would not be denied, as Amber Salley hit two free throws to pull the Cougars ahead by three. Central then stole Hampton's inbounds pass to seal the deal.
   Campbell was very pleased with the way Stout played, but would like to see others enter the scoring column.
   "She's good," Campbell said about Stout. "I won't take anything from her, but we're going to need others to step up and put points on the board for us. Kari's not going to be able to do it all herself."
   Central was led in scoring by Lindsey McGrady, as she finished with 12 points.
   Hampton falls to 10-6 overall, and 3-1 in the Watauga, while Central improves 8-5 overall, and 3-1 in conference play.