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League-leading Bulldogs edge Raiders in overtime

By DYLAN YOUNG, Sports Correspondent • Jan 29, 2020 at 1:41 AM

KINGSPORT — Conor Jones gave visiting Hampton the big shot it needed.

Jones’ bucket with four seconds remaining in overtime enabled the first-place Bulldogs to survive Watauga Valley Conference foe Sullivan North 53-51 on Tuesday night.

“We got the ball in the end and hit the bucket,” Bulldogs coach Ned Smith said. “We made some big plays down the stretch of this game that gave us that opportunity. I’m proud of my guys for not backing down.”

Sullivan North (14-10, 3-4), which found itself trailing Hampton (17-8, 6-1) by 14 points in the early going, chipped away and stole the lead in the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs made the plays to force overtime.

North nursed a three-point lead in the final 90 seconds, but the Bulldogs pulled out the victory with help from Jones’ heroics.

“Sullivan North has great athletes,” Smith said. “You felt them grabbing the momentum through the game and they made a good comeback. That’s what good athletes can do. They can make some big plays. Anytime you can steal a big win, it goes a long way.”

Morgan Lions tallied a team-high 14 points for Hampton, Caleb Oaks scored 10 and Jones finished with nine.

Trey Williams notched a game-high 18 points for North. C.J. Mardis added 10.

HOW IT CAME DOWN

After a 12-0 Hampton run that included three 3-pointers, the Golden Raiders found themselves trailing 20-6 heading into the second quarter. North mustered some momentum in the period but still trailed by 11 points, 28-17, at halftime.

North finally pulled within single digits in the third quarter thanks to a six-point push by Mardis, and a 13-2 Raiders run to close the third quarter got them within a point at 36-35.

North grabbed a 37-36 edge early in the fourth quarter and maintained that momentum to build a 42-37 lead.

But a 5-0 Hampton spurt knotted the score at 42, and the Bulldogs held the Raiders scoreless for the final three minutes of regulation.

In overtime, North separated itself 49-46 on a Williams bucket but Hampton battled back to a 51-all tie before Jones’ shot settled it.

HAMPTON GIRLS TOP NORTH

A shortage of depth hurt the Lady Golden Raiders in a 58-38 loss to the Lady Bulldogs.

North (6-14, 1-6) fielded only five players — Hampton had 10 make the scoring column — and the fatigue was apparent.

Bolstered by Hazen Brumitt’s team-high 17 points, the Lady Bulldogs (6-18, 3-4) snapped a six-game losing streak.

“We needed a good win and we got one here tonight,” Hampton coach Bud Hazlewood said. “I think we wore them out with our depth. They did have the chemistry advantage on us by playing just those five girls, but we eventually wore them out by playing so many girls.”

Three players scored for North, which saw Kierra Kotee fire up a game-high 22 points.

Hampton opened the game on a 10-0 run — Brumitt accounted for seven straight points — before North countered with a 7-2 charge. The Lady Bulldogs led 15-7 after one.

“Brumitt played well tonight,” Hazlewood said. “She needed this game. She was in a bit of a slump. It was huge for us to have her help and start the game that way.”

Hampton led 30-21 at halftime then took advantage of North’s slow third-quarter start to build a 41-22 lead, and the visitors were never threatened again.

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