Lady Highlanders upend Hampton

By Kim Richardson
STAR Correspondent
krichardson@starhq.com

   Could it be that we watched the next Leslie Campbell on the court at Hampton High School Thursday night?
   "I think she's going to be just awesome," said Hampton's senior guard Joy Gardner. "She'll get better and better because she puts in the time."
   But it's expecting a great deal from anyone to even suggest a comparison to one of the greatest basketball players ever to play in the area.
   But Andrea Tinsman is a promising freshman playing for the Lady Bulldogs. She's also coached by her prototype, none other than Leslie Campbell.
   "She has enormous potential," said Coach Campbell following the game, which the Lady Bulldogs lost to the Lady Highlanders from Cloudland, 44-33. "But most importantly, so far she has the right attitude -- a great work ethic. And yes, she is very talented."
   The game wasn't a thing of beauty, which might have been expected, considering Hampton plays a 5 p.m. game against Happy Valley this afternoon.
   "We have to expect them to go all out in the game tomorrow," Coach Campbell said. "We did play our two seniors, Joy and Jessica (Tolley); it is, after all, Senior Night."
   "We'd love to host a sub-state game," insisted Gardner, choosing an optimistic, yet very ambitious approach. "Hey, you have to expect to win if you're going to play the game."
   Was it difficult to play the last regular season home game?
   "Well, there's the game tomorrow, (today's game), and that keeps us focused," said the other senior on the Lady Bulldogs squad, Jessica Tolley.
   "We have a lot to play for," Tolley said. "We know that Happy Valley's playing really well right now, and we feel that we're improved also. We sure don't want it to end this weekend."
   Cloudland's Kayla Blevins agreed that most everyone in the gym had the tournament on their minds.
   "We talked about it before then after the game," Blevins said. "We didn't play very well, and coach (Matt Birchfield) sure let us know it. But we'll bounce back. We've worked too hard to let down now."
   Jessica Lunsford led the Lady Highlanders with 15 points, followed by Heather Banner with 11. Crystal Arnold had six, Jessica McGuire four, April Williams and Rebecca Clawson each scored three, and Jessica (J. D.) Davis scored two.
   For Hampton, Gardner scored eight, followed by Maggie White with seven, Michelle Oaks with three and Whitney Andrews with two.
   But most were intrigued by the flashy point guard for the Lady Bulldogs, the probable star in the making: Tinsman, who scored 13 points.
   "I have a long way to go to even win a starting position with this team," Tinsman said, rather modestly. "Gosh, I have so much to work on.
   "I have to get stronger, my passing needs much improvement and I have to be able to drive and shoot. So right now, I can only think of all the work ahead, and getting better."