Hampton rally stops JC

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR CORRESPONDENT

   After being down six at the half, the Hampton Bulldogs pulled back strong behind a 23-point performance from Dustin Jaynes to down the Johnson County Longhorns 45-39 on Saturday night and taking the 7th-Grade Boys Championship at Happy Valley Middle School.
   "Well we played well all the way through," said Hampton coach Landon Mullins. "I thought if we came out and put the pressure on them we could do well in the second half.
   "And they were disciplined the whole way through, and it paid off for us. I'd just like to thank the players and the parents, and the assistant coaches for all the hard work they do."
   Hampton came out strong in the first quarter behind Jaynes and two big treys from Jonathan Lyons to take a 13-8 lead after the first.
   Johnson County came roaring back, holding the Hampton defense to only five points behind Justin Harmon and Ryan Humphrey's offensive plays to take a 24-18 lead at the end of the half.
   Johnson County continued their dominance early in the third, putting the Bulldogs as much as nine points down. But the Dogs came roaring back.
   With some shots from Adam Townsend, Jared Irick, and Jaynes, Hampton closed in on Johnson County, holding the 'Horn lead at 31-29.
   The fourth quarter would be Hampton's. As the Bulldogs squared up behind Lyons and Jaynes, piledriving inside on the Johnson County team, eventually taking the big 45-39 win at Happy Valley Middle.
   Jaynes was named the tournament MVP for his efforts on the evening.
   Said Jaynes: "We just got our act together and came out there and did our best and won the championship. This MVP feels great, it's a hard thing to get."
   Boy's Consolation
   The Unaka Rangers proved that they were a force to be dealt with, as 27 points from Brandon Roper gave them the big 63-28 win over Keenburg in the consolation round of the 7th grade tourney.
   Unaka jumped the gun early on Keenburg, going on a wild spree with their inside scoring from Kyle Wilson and Roper. They held Keenburg to only eight first half points.
   Keenburg bounced back in the third behind Cody Marley and Josh Moore, however it wouldn't be enough.
   Unaka would dominate the fourth quarter, outscoring Keenburg 63-28 to take the win at Happy Valley Middle.
   'Magnificent Seven' Rides To Girls Championship
   By: Wes Holtsclaw
   The Happy Valley Lady Warriors had their hands full last night.
   After being down the majority of the game, the 'Magnificent Seven' rode over the Cloudland Highlanders with a strong fourth-quarter performance to give HV the 7th grade girls championship with the 40-33 victory on Saturday night.
   "This group I've called the 'Magnificent Seven' all year," said Lady Warrior coach Dana Hill, "And they've done exactly what we've asked them night in and night out. These girls play their butts off."
   "I don't think there has been a better tight-knit group of girls at the Valley since I've been here. What can you say, I mean they came out wanting to win the game."
   "They did what they had to, and busted their tails. Sam (Canter) and Emily (Good) stepped up big, just everybody played their tails off. I can't say enough about it."
   Happy Valley came out strong in the first quarter, outgunning Cloudland behind Hannah Banks and Paige McNeil taking the 13-6 lead.
   But Cloudland wouldn't stand that for long, as Daranda Byrd, Stachia Saults, and Santana Clawson helped the Lady Landers take a 20-18 lead over Happy Valley at the end of the first half.
   The third quarter would be more of a back-and-forth ballgame. As Emily Good and Chelsi Whitlock battled with Clawson and Byrd keeping it a tight 29-28 Cloudland lead going into the final period.
   But things wouldn't start out smooth for Cloudland, as Byrd, Saults, and Jessica Mathes were fouled out fairly quick. Happy Valley took quick advantage of it behind Sam Canter rolling to the big 40-33 win.
   "When you get three fouls called on one team and 19 on the other, your not gonna win," said Cloudland coach Mike Lunsford, "It's just that simple. I thought our kids played hard, gave a great effort."
   "It's hard to foul 19 times in a zone. But that's part of it. We did some dumb things, we hurt ourselves. And if we don't, we have a chance to win."
   "These kids have come a long way this year. At the first of the year they blew us out terribly, it was bad. Now we're playing with them. We've come a long way, and I'm proud of the kids."
   Happy Valley finishes the season with a 13-3 season, losing to T.A. Dugger and Vance.
   Said Hill: "I'm excited about next year, these girls play Lady Warrior basketball the way it's meant to be played. They get after it and they go hard. That's all I could ask of them."
   Cloudland's Santana Clawson led all scores with 12, while Daranda Byrd added 10 for the 'Landers. Sam Canter was named tournament MVP.
   Consolation Game
   The first game of the evening was a nailbiter, as the Hampton Lady Bulldogs came back from being down three quarters, taking the 31-30 win over Little Milligan.
   Little Milligan laid the smackdown on Hampton early, shutting them out 10-0, behind the play of Maggie White and Andrea Tinsman. But Hampton would come back, as Tamra Lyons and Kristie Tolley helped fight back the next three quarters, before eventually taking a fourth quarter lead that they would keep.
   Hampton outscored Little Milligan 22-12 in the second half, making the outcome of the game a big difference.
   Lyons led Hampton with 19 points, while White contributed 12 to the Lady Buffaloes.