’Boro Bound: Bulldogs defeat Meigs County to punch ticket to State Tournament

Published 10:20 pm Monday, March 7, 2016


The road to Murfreesboro once again ran through Hampton and on Monday evening the Bulldogs took the familiar path with a 67-61 victory over Meigs County at Van Huss / White gym.

The Bulldogs (28-6) connected on three-for-eight from long range in the first period and took an 11-4 lead after one period was in the books. The Tigers (31-6) shot just two-for-12 from the floor in the first quarter – missing on several layups.

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Senior guard Coby Jones opened the second quarter with his third trey of the contest as the ‘Dogs took a 14-4 lead that soon ballooned to 23-8 at the 4:50 mark of the period. After a pair of buckets from Zy Moore momentarily stopped the bleeding for Meigs, senior forward Nathan Norris and guard Chris Holtsclaw dropped in back-to-back trey’s to give Hampton a 31-12 lead.

Another Norris bomb made it 34-12 before Meigs went on an eight point run to make it a 34-20 Bulldogs lead. A deuce from Jose Velazquez and a free throw from Jones made it a 37-20 contest in favor of the ‘Dogs at the half.

“We were down 17 at the half, but I felt like we had a strong run in us,” said Tigers head coach Sammy Perkinson. “We knew we had been here before and but for a play or two it could be us going to Murfreesboro instead of Hampton. I told the guys that I thought we had the better team but we had to prove it on the court and lay it all on the line.”

In the second period Hampton shot 10-for-14 from the floor, including four-for-four from long range. Jones led all scorers with 14 points for the ‘Dogs while Moore scored 10 for the Tigers.

Moore scored seven points to open the third quarter as Meigs began to cut into the Hampton lead and making it a 43-30 contest at the 3:14 mark of the stanza. Jesse Rayl and Moore had back-to-back steals and layups for the Tigers as Meigs cut the ‘Dogs lead to 43-34 with 2:08 left in the quarter.

A three-point play from Moore further depleted the Hampton lead to 43-37 before Norris answered for the ‘Dogs with a two point bucket. Norris hit another three-ball and just as the buzzer sounded Moore answered with a long range bomb to make it a 50-42 game going into he final period.

The Tigers continued to claw away at the Hampton lead with Cam Harris hitting a deuce and post Matthew Meadows hitting two free throws to make it a 50-46 game at the 6:25 mark of regulation. The Tigers held the lead briefly at 57-56 after a seven point run led by Moore who finished as the games top scorer with 32 points.

From there two big plays turned the tide the ‘Dogs way as Norris took down an offensive rebound and got the putback shot to fall for a 60-57 lead.

When asked if he had made a bigger play in the game Norris replied, “I don’t think I have. We knew we couldn’t hold them off even with the big lead. It’s exciting to get to go back to Murfreesboro one last time.”

The second was another offensive rebound – this from Jones and his putback shot was true as well to make it a 64-59 lead with 34 seconds left.

“The Lord was with us the whole game,” Jones, who finished with a team high 24 points said. “The coaches have trained us well and we responded. Meigs is a great ballclub, they tired me out the whole second half, but we have a much quicker team this year and we pressed them and made them play our game.”

Moore hit two free throws with a little over 10 seconds left but Hampton was able to get the ball in and ran out the last ticks.

“We had to buckle down and play good defense down the stretch,” Bulldogs head coach Ned Smith said. “We know that its a game of runs and Meigs is a tough team. Two big offensive rebounds by Norris and Coby were huge. This was a game of big play after big play and we just want to go down to Murfreesboro and play the best we can.”

Sectional Championship

Hampton 67-61

Meigs County (61)

Moore 32, Harris 12, Rayl 4, Meadows 13.

Hampton (67)

Holtsclaw 6, McClain 7, Jones 24, Norris 17, Velazquez 7, Crumley 6.

Meigs Co. 4 16 22 19 – 61

Hampton 11 26 13 17 – 67

3-point goals : MC 2-9 (Moore 2-3, Harris 0-1, Rayl 0-1, Oliver 0-2, Meadows 0-2), H 8-17 (Holtsclaw 2-2, McClain 0-2, Jones 3-7, Norris 3-6)