MURFREESBORO — Hampton certainly gave it quite a scrap, but Jaycee Coe and company were too much to handle.
Coe, a junior who has committed to play at the University of Kentucky, cut loose for 25 points and 11 rebounds as Jackson County denied the Lady Bulldogs 58-38 in the quarterfinals of the girls Class A state tournament Wednesday night at Murphy Center.
It was a season-ending loss for Hampton (27-10) while Jackson County improved to 31-3 and advanced to play Madison Academic Magnet on Friday at 2 p.m. (EST).
The Lady Bulldogs made a surprising run to the state tournament after losing leading scorer Dorothy Dugger to a district tournament knee injury. And many people were expecting Hampton to struggle mightily against the Lady Blue Devils, a program that boasted six state championships since 2000 — including four in Class AA.
And when Jackson ran out to a 25-8 lead, things looked pretty dim for Hampton midway through the second quarter.
“I took about three timeouts in that span,” said Hampton coach Leon Tolley. “We were getting good shots, but we were just too hyped up. I knew if we could settle down, we could get back in the game.”
Tolley said he knew Jackson County wasn’t going to blow his team out.
“That ain’t going to happen,” he said. “I kept telling the girls if we could make them go man to man, they didn’t want to chase us. But we couldn’t get them out of that zone.”
Hampton outscored Jackson County 13-6 and trailed by just 10 points, 31-21, with just under seven minutes left in the third quarter.
Alexis Bowers hit a 3-pointer as part of that run by the Bulldogs. Bowers led Hampton with 12 points, and was certainly a bright spot for the team.
“I felt like that shot got us fired up,” said Bowers. “We started hitting some shots, but then we had a lull. But we still kept trying.”
The Lady Blue Devils went on a 10-0 run to burst out to a 19-point advantage.
Once again, Hampton battled back. A 13-5 spurt got the Lady Bulldogs within shouting distance at 45-34.
However, Coe hit a bucket and Jackson County started to feed the ball inside to 6-4 post Makenzie Hensley. She scored eight straight points for the Lady Blue Devils and the lead was pushed back to 55-37 with under three minutes left in the game.
Hampton shot the ball poorly for the game, making just 12 of 48 from the field for 25 percent. By comparison, Jackson County made nearly 50 percent of its shots (21 of 43).
And in the final analysis, Hampton didn’t have an answer for Coe.
“She is a really good player,” said Bowers. “She has a good shot. I hope she does well when she goes off to Kentucky.”
Hensley finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots. Kassidy Allen added 11 points.
Kim Swearingen had a nice game for Hampton, finishing with eight points and nine rebounds.
Tolley said he was pleased with his team’s effort.
“If we were going to quit, we would have quit in the district semis when Dorothy went down,” said Tolley. “It was a totally different team the last five or six games than the first 30.”
Tolley said his team won 27 games because of chemistry.
“This is the first team since 2009 that had that ‘it,’ the chemistry where they like each other,” said Tolley.