The Bulldogs used a fierce defensive attack to set the tone in a 67-28 shellacking of Harriman in the Class A sectionals to advance to the TSSAA state tournament in Murfreesboro next week.
“Our kids played their hearts out,” Hampton head coach Ned Smith said. “I thought our defense was exceptional baseline to baseline. I thought our kids played great.”
Morgan Lyons and Jordan Bentley proved to be catalysts for the Bulldogs, totaling 16 and 15 points, respectively. Caleb Oaks also reached double-digits with 14 points.
Hampton showed no signs of nerves after the first couple of possessions. Bentley knocked down back-to-back buckets to open the scoring, and Lyons scored four points to give Hampton an 8-0 lead midway from the quarter.
The buckets were part of a 15-0 Hampton run to open the game, and HHS held a 19-3 lead in the second quarter.
After the teams traded shots to open the second, Matt Hughes knocked down a trey to start a 12-2 run. Caleb Oaks scored six points to end the half to push Hampton to a 41-13 lead at the half.
NO LETTING UP
The Bulldogs found another gear in the third quarter to push the lead to 36 points after an 11-0 run to end the frame.
“Our kids didn’t let up,” Smith said. “We talked about it at halftime. Harriman got down 25 or 28 last game, then came back and got within two points. We told them to never let up and they never let up.”
With a running clock in the final quarter, Hampton kept putting on more steam for the statement win — setting off a celebration inside a packed Van Huss-White Gymnasium.
“I want to brag on the crowd tonight,” Smith said. “I thought the crowd had a big impact on tonight’s game. It was a huge crowd.”
In addition to the double-digit trio, Garret Vines, who along with Conor Jones had a strong game at the point, ended with seven points. Hughes finished with five and Izaak Hill contributed four.