Jr. 'Horns, 'Dogs to meet for seventh-grade crown

By Wes Holtsclaw

   Thursday night's contest between the Hampton and Keenburg seventh-grade boys teams was literally "Foul Play" as 51 fouls were called on the night, turning a 24-minute game into an hour and a half "slapfest."
   But it would be Hampton's night after a sluggish first-half performance, with the Junior Bulldogs battling back to a strong lead in the second half -- a lead they would never relinquish as they took a 53-49 win at Happy Valley Middle School.
   Despite the constant fouling, a decent game took place as Cody Marley and Josh Moore lit things early for Keenburg, despite a strong push from Dustin Jaynes and Dustin Milhorn, to give the Tigers a 10-9 lead after one.
   The second quarter would be a tight battle, as Keenburg got out to an early seven-point lead behind Hector Garza, with Hampton fighting right back keeping it a close 26-24 in favor of Keenburg.
   The second half would be all Hampton, as Jonathan Lyons, Jared Irick and Adam Townsend help pound in shots from each corner. Hampton took a 35-28 lead after three.
   The fourth quarter was mostly free-throw attempts and putbacks, but in the end it would be the Bulldogs advancing to the final.
   Cody Marley led all scorers with 15, while Jaynes added 10 for Hampton.
   Johnson County 37
   Unaka 33
   The earlier boys game of the evening was an exciting one up till the last bucket, as Johnson County got the win over Unaka.
   It was obvious from the beginning who Unaka's go-to guy was, as Brendon Roper stepped up as the Junior Rangers' main player, scoring 21 points. But his presence was missed at the end. Unaka was as close as two points when he fouled out.
   Johnson County was the same way -- with the big play of Jesse Gilbert, who snagged 17 -- but it had more weapons from the bench.
   The first quarter set an instant battle, as both teams reached the end with a 7-7 tie.
   Unaka stepped up more in the second. Kyle Wilson and Andrew Church made some big plays against Matt Story and Ryan Humphrey to take a 20-16 lead for Unaka.
   Johnson County came right back in the third, outscoring Unaka 12-4, grabbing a 28-24 lead.
   The Junior Rangers would strike back in the fourth, but the foul trouble would hurt them as Johnson County stepped up big to nail some key shots and take the win.
   Gilbert added 17 for the Jr. 'Horns.
   Girls Bracket
   Cloudland 24
   Hampton 22
   The most exciting game of the evening was the opener, as Hampton battled back from a 13-point deficit to come within two points of beating Cloudland, as the Lady 'Landers escaped town with the victory.
   "We played pretty hard and kept our composure," said Cloudland coach Mike Lunsford. "Hampton hit some shots there at the end, we put the subs in, and Hampton had a 4-0 run on us quick. The girls didn't know what they were doing, and I take the blame for that.
   "I thought today that they knew how to get lined up, an apparently they didn't. We gave them a chance and told them if they could play defense, they could stay in the game. It was probably a bad coaching move there, but I wanted to give the other kids a chance to play."
   The game was tight early, as both teams struggled to get some points, until Stachia Saults and Daranda Byrd got things going for Cloudland. The Lady 'Landers saw some looks, but Tamara Lyons and Kristie Tolley kept the strong hold on them. Cloudland took the 15-5 lead after two.
   Kristin Odom and Santana Clawson helped Cloudland in the third, as the 'Landers took a 22-9 lead.
   Hampton wouldn't give up, as they scored nine straight points on Cloudland. Clawson had the only two points for Cloudland, as Lyons got Hampton within two. But time expired before anything could happen for the Lady 'Dogs as Cloudland took the 24-22 win.
   Lyons led all scores with 10.
   Happy Valley 44
   Little Milligan 13
   Three double-digit scorers (Hannah Banks, Sam Canter and Chelsi Whitlock) led to a big Happy Valley victory over Little Milligan with the 44-13 win.
   Happy Valley had a 21-0 run going on Little Milligan, before Andrea Tinsman could get the Lady Buffaloes on the board.
   Happy Valley led 40-7 though three quarters, before Little Milligan doubled their scoring and held Happy Valley to 44.
   Happy Valley plays Cloudland on Saturday night at 7 for the girls championship.