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Jr. Lady ‘Dogs one game away from state

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
There may have been some that would never imagine that the Hampton Middle Jr. Lady Bulldogs could reach this point in the middle school girls basketball season but here they are.

The Jr. Lady ‘Dogs stand one game away from qualifying for a trip to the TMSAA state tournament after an exhilarating 23-15 win over the Blountville Lady Tigers in the Sectional semifinals played at John Sevier Middle School in Kingsport.

A strong first quarter turned out to be the difference in the contest for Hampton as the Jr. Lady ‘Dogs rolled out to a 14-8 advantage at the first stop.

Piper Helle and Abbie Lunsford scored four points each in the opening stanza to help Hampton to the early six-point advantage.

The Jr. Lady ‘Dogs also got two points each from Brea Hicks, Faye Carrico, and Hannah Smith.

Both teams couldn’t find the bottom of the ocean in the second period as neither could put one point on the board as the halftime horn brought the teams to their respective benches with the same score as the first period, 14-8 in Hampton’s favor.

Smith helped Hampton extend their advantage in the third quarter which would be huge as the Jr. Lady ‘Dog recorded all five of her team’s points in the period to single-handedly outscore the Tigers’ effort with one point.

Heading into the final quarter of regulation, Hampton had a 19-9 lead.

Both teams lived from the foul line in the final six minutes as the Jr. Lady ‘Dogs hit 4-of-6 in the quarter while Blountville also hit 4-of-6 and added a deuce from Randi Smith as Hampton sealed their place in the finals on Saturday at John Sevier.

Smith led the Jr. Lady ‘Dogs in scoring with 10 points in the contest. Helle finished with five points while Lunsford tallied four points.

Carrico and Hicks finished out with two points apiece.

Smith paced the Lady Tigers with eight points in the contest while Faith Greene totaled four points. Maddie Pritchard (2) and Remi Smith (1) closed out the scoring for Blountville.