AFTON — The way Hampton is shooting and trapping has them in the hunt for a state championship.
The Bulldogs snatched 26 steals and made nine 3-pointers in a 92-43 win against Hancock County in a Region 1-A semifinal at Chuckey-Doak on Tuesday.
Hampton (27-5) clinched a sectional berth and will play for the right to host a section when it meets South Greene in the championship on Thursday.
South Greene (15-13) defeated North Greene 51-38 in the nightcap.
Hampton dashed to a 47-22 halftime lead. Point guard Cody McClain scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half and had tallied the vast majority of his nine assists by then.
McClain also had three steals while committing one turnover.
“He’s just an unselfish point guard,” Hampton coach Ned Smith said. “But all of our kids are (unselfish). I think they feed off of him. I think they all just share the ball.”
Guards Coby Jones and Cheyenne Camillo scored 15 points apiece. Camillo’s all came from 3-point range and Jones made two treys. McClain and Malone Hill also each made a 3-pointer.
“They’re one of the best-shooting clubs I’ve probably seen all year,” Hancock County coach Mitch Cantwell said. “I was telling my assistant, I’ve been coaching for 12 years and I said, honestly, from this area, probably one of the best teams I’ve seen in a long time.”
Tyler Moody had 14 points and five steals for the Bulldogs. Stanley Valentine had five points, four rebounds and four steals in the first half, and became a spectator after getting whistled for a technical for hanging on the rim on a dunk attempt.
The official signaled that Valentine pulled himself up on the rim, but it appeared he might have been hanging on to protect himself with a player underneath.
At any rate, Smith wasn’t risking a second technical, which brings a two-game suspension.
Cameron Crain had four points, five rebounds and three steals. Smith, now in his fourth year at Hampton, led Cloudland to four state tournaments and has now guided Hampton to three sectionals and a state tournament.
He said this team has “good chemistry” and might be his most balanced.
“It’s always a goal of ours to try to get down the road,” Smith said. “We just want to take it one game at a time. We want to come in here and play pressure defense and play hard Thursday night. It’s one of our goals to play at home (in the sectional). …
“The kids just stayed at it, constantly pressuring them … without reaching and gambling, just played good, solid defense. I’m proud of the way our kids played tonight.”
Tristan Robinson scored nine points for Hampton. Peyton Miller and Kwade Alder scored eight points apiece for Hancock County, which ended the season at 13-13.
South Greene’s Nick Fillers paced three double-digit scorers with 14 points while helping the Rebels hold off the Huskies in a heated endgame that included the ejection of a spectator.
Daniel Lowery and Logan Tweed added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Brett Bolton scored 14 points and Zane Britton added 11 for North Greene (15-20). Bolton’s made a forced, off-balance 40-footer at the end of the first quarter get North Greene within 12-10, and his 8-foot pull-up at the end of the third quarter cut South Greene’s lead to 32-29.
Britton scored on three straight possessions to get the Huskies within 39-34 with 2:50 left, but the Rebels responded with six straight free throws in the ensuing 1:41 to seal it.comments powered by Disqus