Johnson City Press: Hampton wins behind Bentley’s 19 points; Gouge earns first win against county rival
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Hampton wins behind Bentley’s 19 points; Gouge earns first win against county rival

Tanner Cook • Updated Dec 22, 2018 at 10:50 PM

ELIZABETHTON — A clash of two Carter County basketball rivals inside Bayless Gymnasium on Saturday produced a non-conference split between host Happy Valley and Hampton Bulldogs.

The Lady Warriors girls got the night started off right with a 54-30 win over the Lady Bulldogs while the Hampton boys were victorious, 60-48.

Jordan Bentley powered the Bulldogs (9-4) with a game-high 19 points while Bryce Carter finished his evening with 18 for Happy Valley (1-9).

“Our defense was a lot better in the second half. We were able to force some turnovers and get easy buckets,” Hampton head coach Ned Smith said. “It was a very balanced effort and we had 16 assists tonight, which was big. We shared the ball very well.”

The boys game started off tight and physical despite Happy Valley being down two key starters in Dakota Cochran and Noah Stevens due to suspensions. Hampton had an early 8-7 lead and pushed it out to 19-12 by the of the first quarter.

The Warriors had too many turnovers and missed layups in the first half, digging themselves a hole even though they were playing Hampton close.

The largest lead for Hampton in the first half was 13 at 31-18, but Happy Valley ended the half well on a 8-2 run to trim the lead to seven.

The Bulldogs came out in the second half and asserted their will, getting deflections and interrupting passing lanes, producing points in transition.

Nine different players scored for Hampton.

“If a could write a story about the first half, missed layups and turnovers would probably take the first six chapters,” Happy Valley head coach Jeremy Maddox said. “We have to make the easy ones, and missing layups and free throws has hurt us all year.

“Our guys that did play played hard, I thought. If you put in Noah and Dakota, I think the game is a lot closer. Noah is a good scorer and Dakota is good on the defensive end. It would’ve helped to have had depth playing against a team like Hampton that plays 10 deep.”

GIRLS

A balanced effort of three double-digit scorers led Happy Valley to the win. Tiana Long and Shalyn Whitson each had 13 points while Adrienne Henegar finished with 12.

The defense was a huge key for the Lady Warriors, who improved to 6-5 in head coach Thomas Gouge’s first year.

“We really played hard defensively. That’s what we’ve really tried to focus hard on in practice,” he said. “If we can keep our turnovers to around single digits and force 20 to 25 on our opponent, we’ll be in good shape.”

The Lady Warriors did turn the ball over 13 times, but forced 25 Hampton turnovers and limited Stephanie Campbell to 11 points.

Happy Valley built a 14-6 lead at the end of the first quarter and never gave it up. The stingy defense for HV also surrendered just 12 second-half points.

“I know the Happy Valley and Hampton rivalry runs deep and I guess this is my first victory against a county rival,” he said. “Bud’s a good coach and Hampton will get better every day. I know they will.”

The Lady Bulldogs dropped to 3-10 on the season.

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