Lady 'Dogs  claim third straight win

By Travis Brown
STAR Staff

   The Hampton High Lady Bulldogs took home their third consecutive win Tuesday night with a solid 54-41 performance on the road at Sullivan Central.
   Both sides got off to a slow start, as halfway through the first period the score was 4-2 in favor of Hampton, but things started to pick up. By the end of the first quarter the Lady Bulldogs had stretched out to a 12-4 lead.
   The tables would turn, however, midway through the second period as the Lady Cougars would put together seven unanswered points to pull within two with 3:28 to play in the first half.
   Hampton would settle down towards the end of the quarter and take a 23-18 lead into the locker room. But they would suffer from one more letdown at the beginning of the second half.
   Temporary rebounding woes allowed the Lady Cougars to 25-23, as the second half got underway. The rebounding swoon was uncharacteristic for the Lady Bulldogs, as they dominated the boards for the majority of the evening.
   According to Hampton head coach Leslie Campbell, the rebounding advantage helped the Lady 'Dogs secure the win.
   "Everybody knows we have to crash the boards to win," Campbell said. "Lindsay Harsh and Jessica Tolley rebounded well for us tonight."
   The Lady Dogs would return to true form and outscore the Cougars by 11 points in the third quarter. With the final period left to play, the game was no longer in doubt.
   Joy Gardner (17 points) helped ice the contest with six foul shots in the closing minutes, while Kristi Moody (15 points) delivered a strong performance in the loss. Harsh added 11 points for the Lady 'Dogs.
   Campbell had some thoughts after the game concerning a possible turnaround for the once-struggling Bulldogs.
   "We're not real confident with our shooting, but we're becoming confident with each other," Campbell said. "Our bench has played a big role, and our team is starting to gel."
   Sullivan Central 72
   Hampton 63
   The gentlemen took the floor in the late game and although Central came in a heavy favorite, the Bulldogs played tough in a 9-point defeat.
   The Bulldogs started off on the wrong foot as they allowed the talented Cougars an 11-0 run out of the blocks. Overcoming such a deficit could have killed a team early in the game, but the Bulldogs hung tough and trailed 24-15 at the end of the first quarter.
   The second quarter saw the Bulldogs slip a little further as poor shooting put them behind by 15 points heading into halftime.
   The second half saw coach Bud Hazelwood's troops put on their game faces and respond with a gutsy performance during the third quarter.
   The Bulldogs outscored the Cougars 19-12 in the third, receiving 10 points from the silent Greg Osborne. Osborne's third-quarter surge helped spark a comeback heading to the fourth period.
   At the midway point of the fourth period, the Bulldogs pulled within five points on a big three-point basket by Mitchell Morton. However that was as close as they would come.
   John LeSuer (20 points) finished strong from the foul line, as his performance late in the fourth helped seal the victory for the Cougars.
   After the contest, Hazelwood contemplated the missed opportunity to pick up a win.
   "We had three little spurts that cost us this game," he said. "The first 2 minutes, the last 56 seconds of the first half, and the missed foul shots in the fourth quarter.
   "We have got to realize that we can play with the big boys in this conference, and we need more consistency."
   Osborne and Adam Miller topped the 'Dogs with 14 points apiece, followed by Morton's 12. Central's Chris Martin tallied a game-high 23.