Bulldogs hold off Cloudland Senior Night rally Lady ‘Landers hold home court against Hampton

Published 1:05 am Monday, February 17, 2020

Senior night at Sonny Smith gymnasium – with an overflow crowd on hand – took on different meanings for Cloudland seniors. The Lady Highlanders took an easy 54-28 win over Hampton while the Highlanders couldn’t finish its second-half comeback rally and fell 62-58 in Watauga Valley Conference basketball action.
Hampton (20-9, 8-2 WVC) took a 30-19 lead into the halftime break with sophomore Morgan Lyons leading the way with 10 first-half points. The ‘Landers (14-12, 4-6 WVC) slumped in the second period scoring just six points in the stanza with senior guard Conner Birchfield’s nine first-half points heading the ‘Landers scoring sheet.
Cloudland rallied in the third period to close to within 34-31 before the ‘Dogs went on a 15-2 run to close out the period and take a 49-33 lead into the fourth quarter.
Sophomore guard Conor Jones hit a pair of three-balls in the Hampton run with Matthew Hughes also hitting from long range.
“The kids stepped up and made a big run after they got it to three points,” Bulldogs head coach Ned Smith said. “We missed several free throws down the stretch there and we have to do a better job with our fourth-quarter defense.”
The fourth quarter saw the ‘Landers put on a furious rally as down by 16 they managed to cut the deficit to eight at 52-44 with a 9-3 run. Hunter Shell hit a deuce and Rocky Croy completed a three-point play for Hampton.
The ‘Landers scored the next seven points on a bucket from Elijah Blair, a trey from Bentley Gilbert and a pair of free throws from Birchfield. The teams traded buckets until Hampton got a deuce from Jones to make it a 60-48 Bulldog lead.
Birchfield led all scorers with 18 points followed by Hunter Shell’s 14. Lyons 12 points were tops for Hampton with Jones scoring 11 and Garrett Vines finished with 10.
The Bulldogs will flip a coin with North Greene for the number one seed in the conference.
Hampton 62-58
Hampton (62)
Hughes 5, Vines 10, Oaks 6, Croy 9, Bentley 7, Jones 11, Hill 2, Lyons 12.
Cloudland (58)
Birchfield 18, Gilbert 7, Hu. Shell 14, Ha. Shell 8, E. Blair 7, H. Blair 2, Julian 2.
Hampton  15 15 19 13 – 62
Cloudland 13  6 14 25 – 56
3-point goals: HHS 4 (Jones 2, Hughes, Vines). CHS 3 (Birchfield, Hu. Shell, Ha. Shell).
Hampton… 28
Sprinting to a 28-10 halftime advantage, the Lady ‘Landers (21-4, 9-1) got eight first-half points from junior post player Mandy Benfield and six from senior point guard Kenzie Birchfield.
The Lady Bulldogs fought back with 18 third-quarter points but were able to shave just two points off the Hampton lead and went into the fourth period trailing 45-28.
The Lady ‘Dogs were blanked in the fourth period while the ‘Landers scored nine and cruised to a win that gave them a share of the Watauga Valley Conference regular season in a tie with North Greene whose 59-39 win over Unaka also gave them a 9-1 WVC mark.
The two will flip a coin for the number one seed in the Class A tournament.
Junior guard Gracie Freeman led all scorers with 15 points with Jasmine Birchfield adding 10 for Cloudland. Madison McClain led Hampton with eight points.
Cloudland 54-28
Hampton (28)
McClain 8, Heaton 3, Townson 2, Milhorn 7, Brumitt 6.
Cloudland (54)
Caraway 3, K. Birchfield 9, M, Benfield 8, J. Birchfield 10, Freeman 15, Hicks 1, L. Birchfield 2, Kal. Fields 2, Kar. Fields 2, E. Benfield 2.
Hampton    5  5 18 0 – 28
Cloudland 17 11 13 9 – 54
3-point goals: HHS 4 (Milhorn 2, McClain, Heaton). CHS 8 (Freeman 3, K. Birchfield 3, J. Birchfield 1, Caraway 1).

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