Junior Bulldogs hold off Comets

By Matt Hill
STAR STAFF

   The Hampton Junior High boys team may be in a rebuilding stage right now, but the Bulldogs still nailed down a big victory Monday night.
   The Bulldogs held off a late Central rally to defeat the Comets 52-42 at the Hampton Elementary School Gymnasium.
   Hampton suffered greatly from players moving on to high school this fall, as all of these guys are new to varsity action.
   With that in Hampton head coach Leon Tolley's mind, the win was very gratifying.
   "This is a pleasant surprise," Tolley said. "We knew what a good team Central had, and I was kind of curious to see if my guys would respond to the challenge. They did really well to get the cushion, then we kind of panicked there a little bit in the fourth quarter, but that's good. It gives us something to work on Wednesday in practice."
   Hampton blew open a close game in the second quarter with a 16-6 frame to give the Bulldogs a 27-15 advantage at the half.
   The 'Dogs refused to let up in the third quarter, and led the Comets 41-26 with one period left to go.
   However, the Comets refused to die. Central went on a 10-2 run to cut the Hampton lead to 43-36 with 2:45 left when Rodney Armstrong made two free-throws.
   But this was Hampton's night. Propelled by clutch foul shooting and key defensive plays, the Bulldogs were able to survive.
   It was a valiant effort for the Comets, but Central head coach Lamont Barnett would like to see his team put it together for four quarters.
   "That's two games in a row where we have fallen behind in the first half, and in the second half we've tried to play catch up," Barnett said. "If we can just start playing four quarters. We're going to start coming together, but we just have to play four quarters."
   The Comets received a balanced scoring attack. Chris Rutledge led the Comets with 12, while Armstrong netted 10.
   Barnett is very pleased with the teamwork his squad showed Monday night.
   "This is the most unselfish team I've ever coached," Barnett said.
   As for the Bulldogs, Cody Ford and Jordan Honeycutt led the way with 13. Ford was very instrumental in Hampton's first half surge.
   "The sky is the limit for Cody." Tolley said.
   Ten different players scored for Hampton Monday night.
   Girls
   Hampton 38
   Central 10
   The Lady Bulldogs jumped out to a 20-4 halftime lead, and never looked back against the Lady Comets.
   Hampton was led in scoring by Lacey Oliver, who netted 14 on the night.
   "Lacey Oliver played a good game," Hampton head coach Ronnie Street said. "She works hard in practice. She's getting better and better. She's come a long way."