Bulldogs dispatch Raiders
  

By Matt Hill

STAR STAFF
mhill@starhq.com

   The Hampton Bulldogs weren't going to let the Sullivan North Golden Raiders ruin what had been a good night.
   The Bulldogs held off a late Raider rally to take a 53-45 victory Friday night in Hampton's first home contest of the season at Van Huss-White Gym.
   "We were hungry tonight," Hampton guard Greg Osborne said.
   The Bulldogs looked to be cruising in the fourth quarter. Hampton held what seemed to be a commanding 46-37 advantage with 3:36 to go in regulation.
   But North didn't go down without a fight. An 8-0 run that included two three-pointers made it a 46-45 contest just about a minute later.
   Hampton wasn't going to be denied its first conference win of the season. The Bulldogs stepped it up on defense, and hit their free-throws to close the game on a 7-0 spurt.
   Hampton is a young team that doesn't have one returning starter on the squad. But the fact Hampton withheld the Raiders' spurt shows that the team is not showing as much youth.
   "I felt like me and some of the other seniors stepped up, and became more as leaders tonight," Osborne said.
   With Friday being the home-opener for the Bulldogs, the team was ready to show the natives that this was a quality squad.
   "I just told them it was the first home game, and people are coming out to see what Hampton basketball is going to be like," Hampton head coach Bud Hazelwood said. "We needed to prove it to our fans, so they will come back and support us."
   The Bulldog fans had very little to be disappointed about in the first half.
   Hampton propelled itself to a 12-4 lead in the opening minutes, before sputtering in the final three minutes of the quarter.
   The game was tied at 13-13 going into the second period. 5:30 later, Hampton had gone on a tear and as a result held a 31-17 advantage.
   The Bulldogs went into the locker room up 31-22.
   Osborne scored 14 of his 18 points in the first half, and hit four treys.
   "We were just excited to be at home," Osborne said. "It felt good to finally play at home. I thought everybody came out ready."
   The Bulldogs might have been up a lot more at the half had it not been for Sullivan North's Phillip Scarcellone scoring 16 first half points, and the three minute stretch at the end of the first quarter where the Bulldogs went cold.
   Osborne complimented North for making it difficult to blow the game open.
   "Sullivan North played a good half," Osborne said. "They were just shooting, and we didn't box out and we gave them second shots. I believe if we had boxed out and stuff we should of had a bigger lead."
   Osborne also did a good job defensively in the second half on Scarcellone. Scarcellone could only net seven points in the second half to finish with 23 on the evening.
   "They put me on him to try and deny him the ball, and make the other players beat us," Osborne said. "He's a good shooter, and he still got his points."
   The Bulldogs also made some big shots from the foul line in the game. Hampton went 16-of-24 from the charity stripe, and hit four in-a-row at the beginning of the quarter after a foul and a technical on North.
   That extended what had been a 38-34 Hampton lead into a 42-34 Bulldog advantage.
   Adam Miller joined Osborne in double figures with 10 points on the evening for Hampton. Lance Carter was the next-highest point scorer for North with eight points.
   Hazelwood thinks that the big win Friday night is definitely a step in the right direction for his squad.
   "They're improving and maturing a little bit," Hazelwood said.
   Hampton will take on Morristown West at Van Huss-White Gym Monday night.