Hampton splits pair with Junior 'Horns

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR CORRESPONDENT
wholtsclaw@starhq.com

   The Hampton Junior Bulldogs struggled during the first half of the season, but last night the blue and white showed plenty of strenghs with an overwhelming 51-35 victory over Johnson County.
   Leading the way for Hampton was seventh-grade forward Dustin Jaynes, who tallied 25 points on the night. But it was a complete team effort in all phases.
   "We've given a great effort all year," said Hampton head coach Leon Tolley. "We've just been unable to score. We played great defensively tonight, but we were finally able to make a few shots.
   "It's really nice to see the kids get rewarded for all of the hard work they put in. The first half of the season, we weren't very good. It wasn't because of a lack of effort. They've worked real hard and kept a good attitude all year."
   The Bulldogs opened up on fire behind good play from Josh Taylor and Jonathan Lyons. Tough defense from Jaynes and Adam Townsend held the Longhorns for a big trey from Stacy Honeycutt.
   Ryan Humphrey and Anthony Yoggerst tipped in a couple of buckets for Johnson County as Hampton took a 13-8 advantage going into the second quarter.
   Defense was the name of the game in the period, as Hampton pushed their lead to an 18-12 margin going into the next half. Josh Jarvis and Jesse Gilbert allowed the 'Horns to get on track, but Jaynes netted all five of Hampton's points during the period.
   As soon as the second half rolled around, the momentum had already shifted towards Hampton. It was confirmed after the third quarter.
   Backed behind 11 points from Jaynes and a monster three from Jarred Irick, the Bulldogs caught fire with a 19-7 period against Johnson County.
   At one point during play, Jaynes had as much points as the entire Longhorn team as Hampton spread their lead by as much as 18.
   However, Johnson County held its own in the fourth quarter behind 12 of Robbie Moody's team-leading 16 points, escaping Hampton's temporary grip.
   But the contest remained covered in Bulldog blue as the home squad took the win after good stall from Dustin Milhorn and Townsend.
   Said Tolley: "They're finally starting to come around at the right time, which was why we played a tough schedule to start with. I think they showed a lot of people tonight what they are capable of doing."
   "We went out and gave our best effort," said Jaynes. "We gave 110 percent out there tonight. If we continue to play like this, hopefully you'll get to see us in the championship."
   Johnson County (Girls) 38
   Hampton 22
   The Johnson County girls came into the earlier contest needing a boost of momentum to overwhelm Hampton. They got that boost from point guard April McCloud and center Megan Bickmore.
   McCloud and Bickmore tallied 13 and 17, respectively to lead Johnson County to a 38-22 victory over the Lady Bulldogs.
   "Anytime you beat Ronnie Street you've done something," said Johnson County coach Steve Nave. "I've looked up to him for a long time because I went to Hampton, and I see all of the championships he's got.
   "It's like I told the girls before the game: 'When you come here, you've got to play.' Because that's what I want our program to be like."
   The Lady Bulldogs got solid play from Mikki Oliver and Amanda Peters to assist the outside efforts of Tamra Lyons and Whitney Andrews during the contest.
   However, McCloud and Bickmore delivered points when the Lady 'Horns needed them as Hampton rallied.
   Keesha Eller and Jill South added a few buckets for Johnson County, while Kristie Toley and Paige Blevins put in some solid minutes for Hampton.
   "We had great inside play," Nave said. "I think we have one of the best point guards around, and getting the ball inside is the big thing, and we're doing that."
   "We played harder tonight than we have been playing," said Hampton coach Ronnie Street. "We've been in a slump, but we looked better tonight. We still need to improve on our shooting. We missed a lot of easy shots, but they played hard."