Hampton rallies past Cloudland

Published 10:15 pm Friday, January 15, 2016


For the first half the Cloudland Highlanders stuck with Hampton in a Watauga Valley Conference clash at Sonny Smith gym on Friday night. The second half however, the Bulldogs depth and tenacity took over, and Hampton rolled to a 61-48 victory.

“We got after it in the second half,” said Bulldogs head coach Ned Smith. “We have a lot of depth and we kept pressing. We got the tempo going the way we wanted it.”

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Behind eight points from junior Preston Benfield the ‘Landers trailed just 25-23 at the break with senior guard Coby Jones scoring seven of his game high 21 points in the first half.

The second half was a different animal entirely as Hampton out scored Cloudland 16-9 in the period and began to stretch out their lead. A deuce from Jones made it a 34-30 game, followed by a deuce from Wyatt Lyons and free throws from Jose Velazquez and Lyons made it a 39-32 contest.

Hampton (13-5, 4-1) went into the fourth quarter with a 41-32 advantage and were not threatened from there.

“We had some turnovers in the first half,” Smith said. “Cloudland has a bunch of big, long, lanky kids and they played hard. We had 13 assists, and we kicked it out real well. It’s always good to get a win on the road, but we still have a lot of games left to play.”

After a trey from senior Colby Birchfield and a deuce from Benfield, Cloudland got to within 49-40, but Jones had a pair of deuces to push the lead back to 13.

Hampton 34, Cloudland 30 (Girls)

The Lady Highlanders led 11-10 at the end of one period as junior guard Shian Strickland dropped in eight points on a pair of trey’s and a two point bucket. Hampton opened the second period with a 9-2 run to take a 19-13 lead with 3:20 left until the break.

Cloudland answered with a bucket and a free throw from Payton Johnson to cut the Lady Bulldogs lead to 19-16 at halftime. Megan Garland scored eight of her team high 14 points in the first half to lead Hampton while Srickland had the same number for the ‘Landers.

“The girls played hard and had great patience,” said interim head coach Gary Smith, who took over for Bud Hazelwood who was out with an illness. “Megan came through and hit two big free throws. Neither team fouled much, it was a pretty clean game, but we both threw it away a little bit.”

Hampton maintained its advantage through the third period with Alexus Grubbs hitting a pair of deuces in the stanza and led 28-23 going into the final period.

Strickland opened the fourth quarter with a pair of three-ball’s for Cloudland as the ‘Landers took a 29-28 lead at the 4:48 mark of regulation. Garland answered with a bucket in the paint for Hampton and Shyanne Tuelle added a deuce for a 32-29 Bulldogs lead.

“Shian was clutch tonight, she kept us in the ballgame,” said Lady Highlanders head coach Lucas Andrews. “Hampton is long and lanky and they alter a lot of shots. I wanted to foul a little sooner, I was hollering for it, but they couldn’t hear me.”

Trinity Vines hit one-of-two from the free throw line to make it a two point game and the teams ‘took the air out of the ball’ by playing keep away for the next few minutes. Cloudland – forced to foul – put Garland at the charity stripe and she knocked down both for a 34-30 lead with just 17.6 seconds left.


Hampton 34-30

Hampton (34)

Tuelle 6, Bridgeman 2, Grubbs 11, Hill 2, Garlan 14.

Cloudland (30)

Strickland 17, Johnson 3, Julian 5, Vines 3, Singleton 2

Hampton 10 9 10 6 – 34

Cloudland 11 5 7 7 – 30

3-point goals: H 1-5 (Grubbs 1-2, Hill 0-3 ), C 4-16 (Strickland 4-12, Julian 1-2, Ellis 0-1, Lunsford 0-1 )


Hampton 61-48

Hampton (61)

Holtsclaw 3, McClain 1, Jones 21, Norris 11, Lyons 7, Velazquez 7, Butler 2, Crumley 7, Timmons 2.

Cloudland (48)

Leeter 2, Birchfield 7, M. Benfield 2, P. Benfield 13, Wagoner 5, Je.Potter 13, Vines 2, Ja. Potter 2.

Hampton 13 12 16 20 – 61

Cloudland 12 11 9 14 – 48

3-point goals: H 1-10 (Holtsclaw 0-3, McClain 0-1, Jones 1-5, Butler 0-1), C (Birchfield 1-4, Blair 0-1, P. Benfield 0-3, Potter 3-3)