Devils chased away by Bulldogs

By Wes Holtsclaw

STAR CORRESPONDENT

   The old saying goes: 'If you can't stay with the big dogs, stay on the porch.' After last night's conference game at VanHuss-White Gymnasium, the Unicoi County Blue Devils were tied up and whipped, as the Hampton Bulldogs took a 64-48 win in the main event of the evening.
   "We'll take that win," said Hampton coach Jerry White, "We played sloppy at times, of course you can't really complain when you grab a conference win."
   It was a Hampton dominated game from the beginning, but three fourth quarter three pointers from Zack Ensor to go along with a 21-point effort from Ryan Deskins, who went 13-16 from the foul line, sent the Devils packing.
   "We just came out there and got in rhythm," said Deskins, "I've been struggling lately, so I just went out there and tried to hit all I could."
   "If he gets it started he's a fine shot," said White. "Sometimes he gets out of position and tends to be more of a slasher."
   The game was scoreless halfway through the first quarter until Jeremy Hall got things going for Hampton. It would be tough for the Dogs, as Unicoi's Brian Patterson was the game's 'rejecting machine.'
   Darrell Roop's defense and a three from Jonathan Grindstaff gave Unicoi an early advantage, however it wouldn't last long as Deskins, Hall, and Jeff Clark put Hampton where they wanted to be with a 10-9 lead after one.
   Unicoi took an advantage early in the second quarter, but a huge three from Clark put the lead back into the hands of Hampton. The second quarter proved to be a referee's fest, as the officials tied up play several times.
   But Hampton's defense was a little more impressive, as the held the Devils to seven points in the second, to go along with Kevin Harrison's three-point prowess to give Hampton a 26-16 lead after the first half of play.
   The third quarter spelled comeback for Unicoi as they got out quick with some buckets, cutting the Hampton lead to six. The Bulldogs cut the chase, and another big three from Harrison with a 7 of 8 from the line by Deskins gave Hampton the 40-32 nod after three.
   Unicoi made another run in the fourth, but three Zack Ensor shots from 'Downtown E-Town' swung the game over to the Bulldog blue. It was a 'dogpile' of a quarter as Matthew Campbell hit some nice swingers to give Hampton the 64-45 win.
   "The shots were there tonight," said Zack Ensor. "I just couldn't get them to fall. I finally got squared away and they started falling. Just had to take good ones."
   Jeremy Hall and Ensor both had 11 points for the Bulldogs. Nick Garland led Unicoi with 16. The Dogs play again this Friday at Happy Valley.
   Hampton 52
   Unicoi County 48
   Tuesday night, the Hampton Lady Bulldogs were like the Energizer Bunny, they kept going and going and going. A huge night of making free throws with good defense led to a tight 52-48 win in an instant classic against the Unicoi County Lady Devils.
   "Tonight the biggest thing was that they came in focused," said Lady Bulldog coach Leslie Campbell, "They had their minds set tonight to take the win. We had players come in off the bench and they did a good job. Our legs held up longer, and that helps out."
   Both sides swapped a lot of posessions in the first quarter before Amanda Finney got the first bucket in for the Lady Dogs. Hampton took a 6-0 lead before Unicoi came back with strong play from Kim Anders to take a lead of their own.
   Joy Gardner and Kelly Shoun wouldn't allow that for long, as both came out with some outstanding defense to help Hampton take the 13-11 nod after one.
   Big play from Alison Pierce with some three pointers from Kari and Jodi
   Stout as well as Shoun helped the Hampton ladies blast up into a nice 29-22 lead after the first half.
   Unicoi opened up the third with some lightining fast plays up and down the court from Candice Shelton and Deanna Rice to help close the gap, but Kelly
   Shoun would go all over the floor for Hampton making some good defensive plays as Hampton kept a slim one point lead going into the final quarter.
   Unicoi opened up the fourth with Shelton and Kari Stout battling it out tying the game up twice. Allison Pierce pulled some nice manuvering forcing Unicoi to make a critical out of bounds toss late with under a minute to go forcing the fouls.
   Stout and Shoun nailed their shots, but it got close when Shelton popped one with :17 seconds left. But Hampton's great free throw shooting helped them pull away with the tight 52-48 win.