Hampton advances to District Final; second half surge overpowers Lady Warriors

Published 11:36 am Friday, February 16, 2024

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Star Correspondent

GRAY — On Thursday night at Bobby Snyder Gymnasium, the Hampton Lady Bulldogs advanced to the district championship round with a 64-39 victory over Happy Valley, which moves on to the consolation round for third place in the regional tournament.

Senior forward Macy Henry led Hampton with a game-high 16 points, improving their season record to 20-9.

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“The last time we played them we weren’t aggressive enough so our coaches told us to attack the rim more,” Henry said. “We weren’t sharing the ball enough and we switched up our press, and that let us attack more.”

The first period ended tied 7-7, but midway through the second quarter, with the score standing at 15-13, senior guard Piper Helle hit a three-pointer to spark an eight-point Bulldogs run, making it a 23-13 contest. Happy Valley couldn’t keep up with the offensive firepower of the Lady Bulldogs.

The first half concluded with a score of 27-17, and Hampton opened the third period with six consecutive points, extending their lead to 33-17, before Marcida Moore of Happy Valley scored a basket.

“Happy Valley’s press slowed us down in the first half,” Lady Bulldogs head coach Dewayne Humphrey said. “We weren’t able to move the basketball around like we normally do. They executed their game plan well. They set up their half-court defense and made us tentative. Macy played really well despite not being 100 percent; she had been a little sick.”

With the win, Hampton secured a home playoff game in the Regional tournament, a significant advantage according to Humphrey. “It’s huge to not have to travel and we get to play in front of our great fans,” he said.

Senior post Taylor Berry overcame a scoreless first half to score nine second-half points as the Lady Bulldogs dominated down the stretch. Helle also contributed nine points, with Faye Carrico adding eight.

For Happy Valley (10-15), Moore led with a team-high 15 points, with Cayden Anderson adding eight.

Hampton will face off against South Greene on Monday for the District championship and the number one seed in the Regional, while Happy Valley faces Chuckey-Doak for third place and a road Region game.

District 1AA playoff semifinal

Bobby Snyder Gymnasium

Hampton 64-39

Happy Valley (39): Parker 1, Nickles 6, A. Moore 3, Anderson 8, M. Moore 15, Sommers 4, Zeoli 2.

Hampton (64): Helle 9, Henry 16, Hicks 6, Carrico 8, Berry 9, Estep 7, H. Smith 7, Geisler 2.

Happy Valley 7 10 8 14 – 39

Hampton 7 20 18 19 – 64

3-point goals: HV 0, H 2 (Helle 1, H. Smith 1)