Hampton bows to Black Knights

By Allen LaMountain

   MORRISTOWN -- The Hampton Bulldogs of Monday night scarcely resembled the fired-up crew that knocked off Elizabethton in the district championship, and in what could have been coach Jerry White's final game on the Hampton sideline, the 'Dogs bowed out of the Region 1-AA tournament.
   Instead, the fourth-seeded Chuckey-Doak Black Knights grabbed an early lead and cruised to a 53-41 win at Morristown East High School.
   "This vindicates our season," said Knights head coach Joe Kilday. "We were pretty disappointed with our season. But down the stretch we started to win some games, and regained our confidence. I told our guys, 'If we can win two, we're in the sub-state.' Well that's one."
   Led by forwards Matt King and Jeff Richer, who scored 16 and 15 points, respectively, Doak forced Hampton into a catch-up game and Hampton waited for a lapse from the Knights that never came.
   District 1-AA tournament Most Valuable Player Ryan Deskins scored just seven points while battling foul trouble all evening. Matthew Campbell led the 'Dogs with eight points.
   Hampton shot the ball poorly in the early going, missing its first seven shots from three-point distance, and didn't hit the boards with the usual ferocity as Chuckey-Doak held a 13-8 rebound advantage in the first half.
   In a low-scoring first period C-D led 9-7, and extended to a 22-11 halftime advantage. Richer scored seven first-half points for the Knights, while Jeff Clark led Hampton with four.
   "Hampton is always known as a good-shooting team, and we had to have a great defensive effort tonight," said Kilday. "If you're standing back, they will wear it out, so we got hands up and I was extremely proud of the way we played defense. To hold Hampton to 11 points in a half is playing some defense."
   Neither team gained an advantage during a the third period with both squads scoring 11 points, so C-D went into the final period with a 33-22 lead.
   Justin Hill opened the fourth quarter with a deuce, but Grant Honeycutt finally ended the three-point drought for Hampton, splashing one to make it a 35-28 contest. Hampton and Chuckey matched buckets before Zack Ensor dropped in a long trey to cap an 11-4 Hampton run that closed the gap to 37-33.
   After a timeout the Knights called on Hill once again and he drained a deuce, moments before Hampton lost its cool and its momentum in the game.
   Campbell was whistled for a foul, and compounded that error by getting a pair of technical fouls called on him and getting ejected from the contest.
   King then proceeded to hit seven-of-eight free throws to give the Knights a 45-33 lead with just over three minutes left.
   The closest the 'Dogs would get to sniffing victory was 48-37 before the Knights closed the door on a fine Hampton season that saw the team win 20 games and the district tournament.
   "It's a big disappointment, but if you don't play you can't win," said White. "We didn't show up, we didn't play. Chuckey-Doak was more patient and we pushed too hard at times. We had problems all year putting streaks going. We never totally got into it."
   When asked if he would return for a 32nd season White said, "Probably not. It has nothing to do with the game tonight."
   If White does indeed retire he will do so with 633 wins in a 31-year career at Hampton.