Hampton celebrates second basketball state title

Published 2:30 pm Monday, March 20, 2023

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By Larry N. Souders
Star Correspondent
On the 63rd anniversary of Hampton’s winning their first state basketball title, the Bulldogs brought home their second Gold Ball after their thrilling 51-43 victory over the Middleton Tigers Saturday evening. From the county line to the front doorstep of Hampton High School, streets and roadways were lined with Bulldog fans waiting to greet their 2023 TSSAA Class 1A State Champions home Sunday afternoon.
At the school, it looked like the entire Hampton community came out to celebrate the boys’ championship. The VanHuss-White gymnasium was completely full on the home side, along the court’s baseline and the lower level on the visitor side was stuffed with four to five hundred of the Bulldogs’ biggest fans.
Hampton’s yearbook sponsor Amy Banner served as the master of ceremonies for the returning champions’ pep rally that lasted over an hour.
Among those attending were three members of the 1960 team that brought home the Bulldogs’ first Gold Ball. Carl Roberson, Pastor Bobby Stout and Jerry White were there to welcome home the newest members of their fraternity.
White, who not only played on the 1960 championship team under legendary head coach Walter “Buck” VanHuss, also coached two Bulldog teams to the state tournament in 1981 and 1983. Both squads brought home a Silver Ball from Murfreesboro. The ’81 squad also faced and defeated the Middleton Tigers en route to the finals before losing to the Bolton Wildcats, while the ’83 squad also lost a heartbreaker by just five to East Robertson. Members of both teams were also on hand to welcome the new state champions home.
Cadon Buckles, a Mr. Basketball finalist and the tournament’s MVP, was introduced by Banner; he laughed while confirming the rumor that he had in fact slept with the Gold Ball Saturday night. All joking aside, Buckles sincerely thanked the entire Bulldog Nation for their support before shouting, “Go Bulldogs!”
Several other players, including Hayden Campbell, Dylan Trivett and Chance Point, whose three-pointer at 1:34 left in the game all but sealed the win, echoed Buckles in their thanks for the community’s support not only this year but for their entire careers.
The Hampton Bulldogs will be honored during the Monday night, March 20, County Commission meeting at the County Courthouse at 6 p.m.

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