Freshmen 'Dogs slide by Cyclones in OT

By Ivan Sanders

   In one of the most exciting freshman games in recent memory, the Hampton Bulldogs chomped down on the Elizabethton Cyclones for 30 of the 32 minutes in regulation, and then had to fight and scrap to overtake the Cyclones in the overtime session to escape with a 68-67 thriller in VanHuss-White Gym.
   Lucas Arwood's banked three-point shot with seven seconds remaining in the extra period dropped through the net for the winning points.
   Hampton had built several seven-point leads throughout the contest and were holding tight to a 57-54 advantage with a little over five seconds left in the contest when the Cyclones' Michael Rader drained a long-range trey to knot the score at 57-57 with three ticks left.
   Hampton's desperation full-court shot went left of the goal and four minutes were added to the clock for an extra quarter of basketball.
   "We are fortunate to get this win," stated Hampton skipper Howard Ellis. "Elizabethton has a heck of a team and I am so proud of the way our boys played, especially with the intensity level we had in the fourth quarter."
   Alex Ingram and Jordan Honeycutt were two feisty 'Dogs' in regulation as Ingram blazed the nets for 16 while Honeycutt used some athletic leaping ability to bury 14 points.
   Hampton had its hands full trying to guard the Cyclones for the first 32 minutes of action as Derrick Nave led the EHS charge with 13 points, with three players, including Ben Hardin, Josh Ellis, and Rader, tallying nine each.
   Elizabethton looked poised to take the win in the extra stanza as the Cyclones, still feeding off Rader's three, came out as the aggressor. The Cyclones managed to work the edge to four before the 'Dogs' rallied to within two at the 1:22 mark of overtime.
   With a two-point lead, the Cyclones turned the ball over on a pass out of bounds with 19 seconds left that set up the exciting climax to the contest. Arwood worked his way to the top of the key where his teammates had set a perfect two-man picket fence for the final shot that hit center of the box on the backboard and swooshed in with authority.
   "We had tried to pull the air out from under the ball in regulation with the two-point lead we had and couldn't hold on because we hadn't practiced that type of situation," stated Cyclone frosh coach Wes Wright. "I decided not to make the same mistake in overtime and Hampton set a perfect two-man screen that our guy was a half a step late getting through and he banked it in."
   Honeycutt and Ingram shared leading-scorer honors with 18 each while Arwood contributed with 11 points in the victory. Nave added two more in overtime to collect 15 points to lead EHS while J.C. Atkinson came on strong in the overtime session to net 12 on the night. Ellis finished with a strong 11 points as well for the Cyclones.
   "I was praying hard on that shot," added Coach Ellis. "As a coach you have always got to believe you have a chance to win -- even when you are behind, and I believe in this team."