Deskins-led 'Dogs drop Happy Valley

By Jeff Birchfield

   Hampton (1-0, 6-3) hit five three-pointers in the opening minutes of the game and used a 20-point outburst from Ryan Deskins in a 52-42 win over Watauga Conference rival Happy Valley (0-2, 0-3) Friday night at White-VanHuss Gym.
   "Right off the bat we hit three threes to give us a little bit of a cushion," said Hampton head coach Jerry White. "When you do that, you can make a mistake or two and still have the lead.
   "Anytime you can beat a Charlie Bayless-coached team, I will take it. I didn't think either team played particularly well, but Happy Valley makes you play that way. It ended up 10 points, but it was closer than that. It went down to the last minute. "
   The game was tied 12-12 near the end of one quarter, before the Bulldogs went on a 10-0 run, capturing a lead they would never surrender.
   "We didn't have any offense," said Happy Valley coach Charlie Bayless. "We made a good run at them, but anything is an improvement since the last game (a 71-50 loss to Elizabethton). At least we got it under 10 and played good defense, that's an improvement from where we were."
   The Warriors had managed to control the boards early on, keeping until Hampton turned the tables in the second half.
   "I was braying at them," explained White. "We were watching the ball instead of getting position to rebound. Happy Valley does a good job at that. Deskins got a couple of rebounds and put them back in to get us going."
   Deskins scored eight of his game-high 20 points off easy baskets where he simply beat the Warrior defense downfloor.
   "I was just looking for open court ahead," said Deskins. "We were looking for people open down the court to open up the defense. Stuff happened in the game to get us a little more pumped up. We hit the boards harder in the second half, but we need to do that all the time."
   Late in the third quarter, Hampton held a 13-point lead before the Warriors sliced it to six through their trapping defense. However in the last minute and a half, Bulldog guard Zack Ensor iced the game with four successful attempts at the free throw line.
   Deskins led the Bulldogs also in the rebounding category with 8 boards, while Ensor pumped in 12 points and Jeremy Hall added nine. "They got too many easy shots under the basket on us," said Bayless. "They got some pretty good offensive rebounds under the basket. Hampton shot pretty good and they played well."
   For Happy Valley, Chris Campbell was the leader with 11 points and 7 rebounds. Andy Hilton put up 9 points, while Lamar Rollins chimed in with 8.
   Other players also provided Happy Valley with strong efforts. "I started the Whitlock boy (Cody) at guard, and he played pretty good," commented Bayless. "Cody Cannon came in and helped us some.
   "Hampton is just a good ballclub. They moved the ball around good. They shoot good and they hustle. They beat us down the floor."
   Hampton 62, Happy Valley 52 (Girls)
   The girls' contest had a common theme with the boys' game. Hampton (1-0, 2-4) bolted out to a big lead before surviving a late-game rally and winning by 10 points.
   "We won the game, but we have a long way to go," said Hampton head coach Leslie Campbell. "We're still learning that we have to put four quarters together. Tonight, we played good the first two quarters and then let up and let them back in. They were content and just let up."
   Happy Valley went ahead early 9-4 before the Lady Bulldogs reeled off 19 straight points. They continued to slowly build on the lead until bumping it up to 25 late in the third quarter.
   Though it looked insurmountable, Happy Valley (0-2, 0-5) made a strong advance on the Hampton lead. Lauren Hollowell's basket got it under ten points before HV's advance was spurned by a great defensive play.
   With only 1:11 left in the game, Alison Pierce took a charge from HV's Kandra Roberts. Her move negated a basket that would have cut the lead to seven and gave possession of the ball back to Hampton.
   "That play ended the rally," said Campbell. "She also saved us two points too. It could have been a big turnaround. She and Cindy (Hyatt) are the only ones who are taking a charge for us. Hopefully, a few more will do that.
   "Cindy did the best job rebounding (8 boards) she has done all year. She was after the ball. She was everywhere. She did what we asked her to do."
   What Campbell saw as a letdown by her team, Happy Valley coach Ben Godsey saw as an opportunity for the Lady Warriors to turn their dismal early season around.
   "I'm proud of our effort in the second half," said the second-year coach. "We got it down to a nine point ballgame and that was positive for us. When you play hard, good things will happen. That's what we need to do right now, play hard for four quarters of basketball.
   "We're still trying to stay positive. We will put this game behind us. I do feel we have improved over the last game. As long as we keep working toward getting better, I'll be happy."
   When the Lady 'Dogs needed points on the board, they turned to guard Kari Stout, who scored a game-high 21. Hyatt scored 11 points for Hampton, with Kelly Shoun contributing 10 and Pierce 7 more to the winning cause.
   "Kari is going to get her 15 to 20 points," stated Campbell. "We just have to get everybody else to chip in and get their numbers up. Alison and Kelly are just now coming back (from injuries) and are still out of shape. Once they get back in the flow, they should give us a few points.
   "Brandi Highsmith played well tonight. Kayla Bobbitt (6 points) has also been consistent for us the last two or three games."
   On the opposing side, Roberts paced the Lady Warriors with 20. Kortney Goulds was next in line with seven points, while Brandi Morgan and freshman Brandi Dugger each had six.
   "We need somebody to score other than just Kandra," remarked Godsey. "We need some players to step it up a notch. Kortney hit two shots for us that was pretty positive. Maybe, she will be a scorer for us down the road."
   Both schools return to action next Tuesday with another set of boys and girls doubleheaders. Hampton will try to keep the momentum going at Sullivan North, while Happy Valley's teams try to break into the win column when they host Johnson County.