Another buzzer-beater lifts Happy Valley over Hampton

By Travis Brown
STAR STAFF
tbrown@starhq.com

   The rematch of an early season controversy produced one of the most exciting matchups in recent memory, as the Happy Valley Warriors went on the road to steal a pair of wins from the Hampton Bulldogs on Tuesday night at Bayless Gym.
   With memories of an early season loss to Happy Valley strong in their minds, the Hampton Bulldog boys team was ready to enact a bit of revenge in the nightcap.
   Despite playing an excellent ballgame, the script seemed all too familiar as the Warriors' Stephen Williams hit a desperation three at the horn to seal the buzzerbeating victory 50-49.
   After the contest, Bulldog head coach Bud Hazelwood was nearly at a loss for words.
   "That's the story of our season, last-second shots," Hazelwood said. "That's the second time they've done that to us this season."
   Heroics may have won the day, but the Bulldogs played a strong game on both ends of the floor for the majority of the contest -- holding all of the Warrior scorers to single-digit point totals, and forcing Warrior skipper Charlie Bayless to find scoring on the bench.
   Meanwhile, the Bulldogs were redhot from the outside early in the first quarter. Jumpshooting was at a premium, as the 'Dogs pulled out to 10-9 lead on the strength of perimeter play.
   The Warriors were forced to bang inside, and Tim Whaley did not disappoint. Despite only posting seven points, Whaley created opportunities for his teammates with fine passing and defensive hustle.
   During the closing moments of the first half, the Warriors clung to a 26-21 lead. Bayless opted to slow the pace and a ballhandling miscue allowed Hampton to get some needed offense at the end of the half, pulling to within two.
   The second half was nothing short of electric as both teams traded shots. A critical hingepoint of the contest came with 6:07 left in the third when Jordy Harrison was hit with a technical foul, Mitchell Morton would make the Warriors pay, as he turned the foul shots and resulting possession into a five point swing for the 'Dogs.
   Hampton would maintain a 5-point advantage until the closing moments of the game. That is until the Warriors were able to find one more dose of last minute miracle.
   Trailing 46-42 with 1:15 remaining the Warriors called time-out to discuss their options trailing by 4.
   As the two teams traded possessions, the Bulldogs received strong foul shooting by Josh Moss, but a critical set of turnovers and clutch shooting from the Warriors left them trailing 48-47, and sending the Bulldogs to the foul line.
   Greg Osborne would hit the first and miss the second, but with only four seconds remaining, it seemed to little to late for the Warriors.
   Two quick passes, and a desperation three by Stephen Williams beat the buzzer and dealt the Bulldogs their second heartstopping loss to the Warriors on the year."
   Afterwards Bayless showed respect for the 'Dogs, who have found good luck hard to come by this season.
   "I hate it for Bud (Hazelwood) they've played hard both games and we've beat them on the last shot," Bayless said. "They've lost a lot of close games this year."
   Andrew Bowman and Cody Whitlock scored nine points each to pace the Warriors. Morton, 13 points; Moss, 11; and Adam Miller, 10, all scored in double figures for Hampton.
   Lady Warriors 52
   Lady Bulldogs 48
   In the girls matchup hustle would determine the winner as both teams struggled at times with finesse on their way to a 52-48 thriller. The first quarter involved a seesaw battle between the two teams as the Lady Warriors tied the contest with 40 seconds remaining in the first period.
   Mandy Byrd then hit a running jumper with at the end of the first to take a 15-13 lead into the second period.
   The second quarter was all Hampton as the Lady Bulldogs competed for the basketball and pulled ahead with sheer effort. The improved tempo gave Hampton a 25-21 lead heading into the locker room.
   Happy Valley head coach Ben Godsey was concerned at half-time about turnovers and hustle.
   "We talked about it at half-time," Godsey said. "We told the kids not to go back on the floor and get out hustled, and they responded."
   Response came loud and clear in the third period as the Lady Warriors came out determined to play with passion. The Warriors outscored the Lady Bulldogs 20-8 in the stanza receiving 10 points from Brandi Dugger.
   Dugger would finish with 17 points on the night, leading her team to a 41-33 advantage heading into the fourth quarter. Whitney Crowe added 10 to the Happy Valley cause.
   The Lady Bulldogs would furnish a strong comeback effort as the momentum began to swing midway throughout the fourth period. The play of Joy Gardner and Heather Chambers put the Lady Bulldogs within striking distance during the closing seconds, but the shots simply wouldn't fall and the Warriors took home the 52-48 win.
   Gardner and Chambers netted 11 points apiece to top Hampton.