Sullivan South tops Hampton

By Matt Hill

   JONESBOROUGH--The Hampton boys basketball team is still looking for consistency. That couldn't have been more evident than during Tuesday's game with Sullivan South.
   The Bulldogs showed flashes of brilliance in the second quarter, but couldn't keep it up in a 52-35 defeat to the Rebels in the opening round of the Hardee's/Black Tie Formalwear Classic at David Crockett High School.
   Hampton scored 19 points in the second quarter, but could only muster a combined total of 16 points during the other three.
   "I can't figure this team out," said Hampton head coach Bud Hazelwood, whose team is now 0-3 on the young season. "It's not the losing, it's the way we're losing. We can't get a consistent effort for four quarters."
   Hampton fought back into the game after a first quarter that saw the Bulldogs go scoreless. Hazelwood emptied his bench, and the players delivered.
   With South up 15-4 at the five-minute mark of the second quarter, the Bulldogs went on an 11-0 run to tie the game at 15-15. Hampton went into the locker room all even with the Rebels at 19-19.
   "We put five new ones in there that wanted to play," Hazelwood said. "First bunch came out flat and acted like they didn't want to play. The next group I had in played. They played their rear ends off."
   A big reason for the comeback was the play of Shane Campbell, who scored all 11 of his points in the second stanza.
   But the Bulldogs couldn't keep the momentum going. The Rebels started the second half on an 11-2 run, and the young Hampton team never recovered.
   South was ahead 39-26 at the end of the third quarter. The Rebels led by as much as 19 points in the fourth quarter.
   "I gambled and went with that same five again, and they came out and played the start of the third quarter like the ones that started the game did," Hazelwood said.
   The Rebels easily won the battle of the boards. South outrebounded Hampton by 16 on the night.
   "That's a concern," Hazelwood said. "You can't give teams second shots, and they were getting third and fourth shots at times. I'm concerned about every area of the game right now."
   Sullivan South's domination on the glass was very pleasing to Rebel head coach Mike Rogers.
   "We scrimmaged Hampton about three weeks ago at their place, and they really beat us badly on the boards," Rogers said. "They really pushed us around. Ever since then we've really spent a lot of our time in practice on rebounding. That's kind of paid dividends for us."
   South had three players in double figures on the night. Football standout Aaron Robinette led South with 17 points, while Chris McMeans and Aaron Hanks added 15 and 10, respectively.
   "We played a lot better in the second half," Rogers said. "We came in and talked at halftime about playing hard, and that's what we've got to do night in and night out to be competitive. The second quarter was probably the only bad quarter we had. The first quarter and the third and fourth quarters were good for us. The second quarter was when we really laid down. I guess we thought it was going to be easy, and we kind of let our guard down."
   As for the Bulldogs, Hazelwood is hoping that his team can play like they did in the second quarter for a whole ball game.
   "All we can do right now is build on that and try to go from there," he said.
   Hampton will be back in action tonight in losers bracket play.