TMSSAA East Class A Sectionals: Jr. Bulldogs drop Grandview in thriller

Published 2:48 pm Thursday, January 31, 2019

KINGSPORT—It was an up and down ride for the Hampton Elementary Jr. Bulldogs, as they opened play in the TMSSAA East Class A Sectional at John Sevier Middle School.
Down the fourth-quarter stretch, the Jr. ‘Dogs held on as they topped Grandview 33-32 to advanced on to the semifinals which were played Thursday night.
“We have played a lot of good teams,” said Hampton Elementary head coach Dewayne Humphrey. “We have had some close losses and close wins, and I feel like our season had prepared us for nights like this.”
Jr. Bulldogs Johnathan Greenwell led Hampton with a double-double as he recorded 17 points and ten rebounds.
“Johnathan has really come on of late,” said Humphrey. “He put us on his back tonight. He said he wanted to guard their best player. He shut him down there in the second half.”
Using pressure defense, the Bulldogs were able to push out to an 8-4 lead partway through the first quarter. Hampton’s Austin Bentley and Greenwell posted six straight points to help the Bulldogs pull ahead early. Grandview’s Brandon DuFore had a bucket and a 3-pointer late in the quarter to cut Hampton’s lead to 8-7 late in the first.
Grandview came out on fire in the second period as they posted ten straight to take a 17-8 lead over Hampton. The Jr. Bulldogs only managed four points in the second as Grandview carried a 20-12 lead into the half.
“He switched his defenses there,” said Humphrey. “I feel like our kids got a little timid there. We didn’t attack the rim the way we would should have.
“At half time, we challenged our kids to be a little more aggressive,” added Humphrey. “I felt like calls were going to the aggressive team and I wanted us to attack the bucket.”
The Jr. ‘Dogs went on an eight-point run to open the third period. The run, which saw Greenwell post six straight points while teammate Cadon Buckles hit a bucket, allowed Hampton to tie things up at 20-20 before taking a 24-22 lead into the fourth quarter.
Three straight points from Hampton’s Brody Hicks allowed the Jr. Bulldogs a 29-24 lead in the fourth. Grandview, however, worked the nets for an unanswered eight points to jump ahead 32-29. With time running down, Greenwell hit a guarded runner to make it a one-point game before teammate Austin Bentley sank a shot to put Hampton up 33-32. Grandview’s Hayden Wesley went to the foul line with just a second left but missed his free throw as the Bulldogs held on for the win.

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