Bulldogs wear down Highlanders to snare win
Published 12:27 am Saturday, February 12, 2022
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BY BRANDON HYDE
ROAN MOUNTAIN – In the second game of the night on a warm day, but a chilly night in Roan Mountain, the Highlanders hosted the Bulldogs in an anticipated matchup after a feisty girls’ game.
After seeing the outcome of the first game, the Hampton Bulldogs worked their way to a split with the home-standing Highlanders by taking a 56-43 victory.
The Hampton and Cloudland boys matchup was a little more subdued than the girls early on, but not by much. Hampton seemed to have better inside play and took an early 6-2 lead, but a banked three-pointer by Cloudland’s Caden Clarke brought the Highlanders to within one.
After a slight back and forth, Hampton managed to pull away a bit with the score 12-7 midway through the period. Another late-period three-pointer by Cloudland’s Caleb Sluder would pull the ‘Landers within three points, but Hampton scored straight away, putting them back up by five.
An alley-oop attempt to Hamptons Michael Harrison was entertaining, but came up short, leaving the score at 20-15 at the end of the period.
The second period saw excellent play inside by the Bulldogs. On-point passing to the paint would give them ample opportunity for scoring.
An early three-pointer by Harrison put the Bulldogs up by 10 early on in the period as Cloudland struggled to get anything going. Hampton made it tough for Cloudland as the Highlanders struggled to get any kind of penetration.
This along with turnovers and missed shots allowed the Bulldogs to pull away a bit with the score 27-12 with about a minute to go in the half. Cloudland added one more bucket to close out the half 27-14, advantage Hampton.
The second half started out much the same, with Cloudland struggling inside and Hampton slowly adding to their lead. However, turnovers and poor rebounding by Hampton allowed Cloudland to fight their way back to within seven points with better shooting midway through the third period.
Cloudland would score a couple more, but Hampton would close out the period with a small flurry of scoring that put them back up 41-32.
After a score and subsequent rebound and score on a missed free throw by Cloudland would add a quick four points to start out the fourth period for Hampton, Cloudland seemed to revert to their old ways as they struggled inside and allowed Hampton to add two more points.
All of a sudden, the Bulldogs had a 14-point lead. The Bulldogs could smell blood at this point and began to turn the heat up even more on defense, resulting in poor ball handling and turnovers by the Highlanders.
A nice banked three-pointer by Clarke gave Cloudland a small spark, cutting the lead to nine, but Hampton’s strong defense and inside play would make it difficult for any kind of Cloudland comeback. This would pretty much seal the deal for Hampton as they walked away with the win.
Hampton scoring was led by Harrison with 20 points along with Conor Burleson who netted 12.
Cloudland’s Sluder had a big game with 25 points hitting three-pointers in both halves. Clarke also hit a three-pointer in each half for six points. Dylan Shell, Dylan McClelland, and Eli Benfield supported with four points apiece.
Michael Harrison 20, Isaiah McCoury 3, Cadon Buckles 6, Logan Whitehead 6, Morgan Lyons 6, Conor Burleson 12, Hayden Campbell 3
Caleb Sluder 25, Dylan Shell 4, Caden Clarke 6, Dylan McClellan 4, Eli Benfield 4
Hampton……15 12 14 15 – 56
Cloudland…..10 4 18 11 – 43