Bulldogs bow out to Lady ‘Buffs in state semifinals

Published 8:17 pm Friday, March 10, 2017

Carter County’s own Cinderella story came to an end Friday night.

Clarkrange rode the hot hand of Kara Meadows (21 points, seven rebounds) to outscore Hampton 15-4 in the fourth quarter to earn a 37-27 victory in the Class A TSSAA BlueCross Basketball Championships at Middle Tennessee State University.

The loss ended the season for Hampton, who finished the 2016-17 campaign with a 23-14 record overall. The Lady Buffaloes (27-10) advanced to Saturday’s TSSAA state championship.

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While Hampton was able to execute their gameplan early on, offense came at a premium with the Lady Bulldogs going 11-36 from the floor.

“The difference came down to defense,” Hampton head coach Bud Hazelwood said. “We couldn’t get anything going on offense.”

Shyanne Tuelle had the offense clicking enough with 13 points through three quarters with Hampton holding a 23-22 lead heading into the final frame of play.

Turnovers proved to be costly as the Lady Buffaloes were able to regain momentum.

“We threw it away a couple of times and they scored both times off that,” Hazelwood said. “Normally the press doesn’t bother us, but it was the element of surprise. They threw it on us and we really didn’t expect it. We were right there with them, it’s just one of those things. They’re a good team and I wouldn’t be surprised if they win it all.”

With the ‘Buffs able to roam the prairie successfully late, Stephanie Campbell and Leeanne Guinn chipped in a pair of buckets to keep the final score within 10 points.

Kinzey Hill and Megan Garland chipped in four points each for Hampton while Alexus Grubbs wrapped up the scoring with a bucket.

The experience of playing down in Murfreesboro will be one to remember, according to Tuelle, as Hampton gears up for next year.

“We’re going to work hard going into next year,” Tuelle, who also finished with six rebounds, said. “Our goal is to get to the championship game next year so we’re going to have to work even harder. We know what it feels like to be down here now, that feeling will be big for us.”

Hampton’s memorable run in the ‘Boro began with a 42-41 win over Oneida in the TSSAA Sectional contest a week ago. Following that win, this year’s group of Lady Bulldogs were able to be only the second team from the school to advance to the semifinals following a 37-29 win over Huntingdon Thursday in the state tournament opener.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the girls,” Hazelwood said. “There is a little disappointment about not playing Saturday. We kept changing our goals as we kept advancing. A lot of people didn’t think we’d be here, much less be ahead going into the fourth quarter of a semifinal game. My hats off to these girls, they worked hard. It’s been a rollercoaster ride but we’ve been able to make some memories this week.”

Hampton will graduate five seniors at the end of the school year; Garland, Grubbs, Bree Hoyle, Hope Bridgeman and Makayla Martin.

“We’re going to miss them,” Tuelle said. “We’re going to have to find some other people to step into their shoes.”

This year’s group of underclassmen also meant a lot to the head coach.

“I took midseason when they were freshmen,” Hazelwood said. “They mean a lot to me. I didn’t bring them to the state tournament, they brought me. I’ll be honest, this was a great experience, but I hope this isn’t the greatest thing that ever happens to them. They all have a bright future and they’re great girls.”


Clarkrange 37

Hampton 27


C| 7 5 10 15

H| 6 5 12  4

SCORING: Hampton: Tuelle 13, Garland 4, Hill 4, Guinn 2, Grubbs 2, Campbell 2. Clarkrange: Meadows 21, Garrett 8, Crabtree 3, Bush 3, Stove 2.