Region 1-A Championship: Hampton dominates Eagles

Published 9:14 pm Thursday, March 3, 2016

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AFTON – Two number one seeds collided on Thursday at Chuckey-Doak Middle School as district 1 champion Hampton took on district 2 champ Cosby for the region championship and a home game in the sub-state.

The ‘Dogs defensive pressure once again proved too much for their opponent as Hampton dominated in a 74-54 victory that sets them against Meigs County on Monday at Hampton.

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The first quarter was played at a breakneck pace with Hampton taking a 19-17 lead on the strength of six points from junior forward Jose Velazquez and four from senior Coby Jones. The Eagles Devin Storm dropped in a pair of trey’s and a pair of two point baskets for his game leading 11 first quarter points.

The Bulldogs (27-6 overall) opened the second quarter with an eight point run with Nathan Norris and Jones each scoring from long range and Velazquez hitting a deuce from the baseline. The run enabled the ‘Dogs to open a 27-17 lead at the 6:22 mark of the period.

“Coach expects us to play good defense,” Velazquez said. “Defense is a big part of our game plan and gets us easy baskets. It will be great to play at home in the sub-state in front of a big crowd hopefully.”

A layup by Jones made it a 10-point run before Bryson Valentine ended the run with a bucket in the paint for Cosby (24-6 overall). Hampton made it a 35-19 game at the 4:46 mark after back-to-back steals and layups from Norris and Velazquez and a bucket from Wyatt Lyons.

A three-point play by Kurry Cody cut the Hampton lead to 37-26 at the 2:47 mark, but Charlie Butler answered for the ‘Dogs with a three-ball for a 40-26 Hampton lead.

In all the ‘Dogs outscored the Eagles 26-11 in the second quarter to take a 45-28 lead into the halftime break. Velazquez led the ‘Dogs with 10 first half points followed by Jones with nine and Norris with seven.

Hampton forced nine turnovers from the Eagles in the first half in what has become a familiar theme with the ‘Dogs whose press defense and athleticism in transition is its best offensive weapon.

A trey by Norris early in the third period gave Hampton a 50-30 lead with 6:02 remaining in the stanza and a subsequent steal by Norris led to a bucket by Butler. The ‘Dogs scored the next six points to take a 56-30 lead on two steals and buckets from Butler and a deuce from Chris Holtsclaw.

A deuce from Jones continued the Hampton run before a free throw from Andrew Swan momentarily stopped the bleeding for Cosby who now trailed 58-33.

“We have real good chemistry on this team,” Jones said. “Coach pushes us hard in practice everyday and we are aware that everybody wants to beat us all the time and that just pushes us even harder.”

A bucket by Norris was followed by a three-point play from Swan and made it a 60-36 contest. The ‘Dogs went into the final period with a 66-40 advantage and never looked back.

A 6-2 run by Hampton opened the fourth quarter and gave the ‘Dogs a 72-42 lead with 4:41 remaining in regulation.

For Hampton, Velazquez had a game high 16 points, with tournament MVP Coby Jones adding 15. The ‘Dogs had five players score in double figures with Norris adding 14 and both Butler and Lyons scoring 10.

For Cosby, Storm led the way with 15 points followed by post Bryson Valentine with 10.

“Everybody wants to beat us, but these kids really stepped up,” Bulldogs head coach Ned Smith commented. “We played well in the district tournament, but really stepped up in the regional tournament. They played great defense and turned it into offense and this team has good chemistry to it. Tonight, Jose had a good game, shot the ball well and played with a lot of intensity.”

District 1-2 A Championship

Hampton 74-54

Hampton (74)

Holtsclaw 4, Jones 15, McClain 3, Norris 14, Lyons 10, Velazquez 16, Butler 10, Crumley 2.

Cosby (54)

Benjamin 6, Amick 2, Cody 5, Storm 15, McKeehan 6, Williams 2, Valentine 10

Hampton 19 26 21 8 – 74

Cosby 17 11 12 14 – 54

3-point goals: C 3-14 (Benjamin 1-1, Cody 0-6, Storm 2-5, Valentine 0-2), H 4-9 (Holtsclaw 0-1, McClain 0-2, Jones 1-3, Norris 2-2, Butler 1-1)