BLOUNTVILLE - Hampton’s defensive pressure got the best of North Greene on Wednesday night in the Region 1-1A championship game as the Lady Huskies fell 57-32.
“We were very loose with the ball,” Head Coach James Buchanan stated. “Credit to them I know they work hard year-round and that’s an attribute to them for the work they put in to be able to play that style.”
It was the fourth time both teams squared off against each other with this one being the most important one. Neither team would be eliminated from postseason play, but the loser would have to travel for their state sectional date and the winner would remain comfortable in their home gym.
The Lady Bulldogs outlasted North Greene once again to claim the Region 1-1A championship and end the Lady Huskies’ reign at the top. Once again, defense prevailed and Hampton’s full-court press forced too many turnovers that North Greene couldn’t correct.
At the beginning, things went well for the girls in green. Sonya Wagner and Hannah Miller quickly put North Greene ahead 4-0 with two layups off the glass. Miller’s basket wouldn’t have been possible without Cambell Gaby’s steal on defense and offensive rebound.
The Lady Bulldogs weathered the early storm and decided to take control after calling a timeout to reset.
Lindsey Jenkins provided the first four points for Hampton with a floater and a layup after forcing a turnover on defense. They didn’t let up on their full-court pressure by forcing North Greene to commit another turnover and getting two points from it after a layup by Taylor Berry. Macy Henry scored her first basket with a short shot in the paint to lift Hampton ahead 10-6.
After starting the game on a 10-2 run the Lady Bulldogs didn’t stop punishing North Greene on offense. Madison McClain made a statement early with back-to-back three pointers.
After Hampton went on an 18-4 run to take a double-digit lead, Sonya Wagner drained a triple from outside the arc to chip away at the lead.
North Greene trailed 18-11 after one.
“As far as the eighteen points we gave up in the first six minutes of the game that’s on me,” Coach Buchanan mentioned. “We just had a hard time keeping them in front of us in man-to-man. There was always a miss-match and they always seemed to be getting to the rim. And if we did get help, they were kicking it out and finding shooters and they all shoot it really well.”
Sonya Wagner nailed another pull-up three to lower the margin down to two points at 18-16, but that’s as close as they’d get for the rest of the night.
The Lady Huskies went cold from the field while Hampton thrived on offense with a 13-0 run. Hampton did go scoreless for the first four and-a-half minutes before Taylor Berry ended their drought. They started heating up from beyond the perimeter with a trio of three-point bombs to stretch their lead out to 31-16. Madison McClain splashed her third and fourth long-range triples while Piper Helle contributed with one.
Wagner downed a running floater before the half ended. The senior guard would be North Greene’s main source of offense with fourteen of their eighteen points at the break.
Hampton held a 33-18 advantage at the intermission.
Hannah Miller added a bucket in the low post to begin the third, but another cold spell would fall upon the Lady Huskies.
The Lady Bulldogs would take advantage with 7-1 run to push their lead to a near twenty-point margin. Lindsey Jenkins pulled down an offensive rebound and put up two points on a reverse layup. Jenkins poked the ball away on a back tip and granted McClain with a wide-open layup. Macy Henry knocked down a long-range three the cap off the run.
“We got our pockets picked a couple times tonight just trying to dribble right in front of somebody with a crossover or something,” Buchanan said.
Hannah Miller added a put-back layup towards the end of the quarter. North Greene was held to only two field goals the entire third frame.
Hampton led 42-27 going into the fourth.
Taylor Berry made a statement with a three-point basket at the beginning of the fourth.
Cambell Gaby scored North Greene’s only basket of the fourth quarter with a layup off the glass.
Ryleigh Nickles’ layup pushed the margin to twenty points and effectively put the game out of reach.
Hampton ran away with a 57-32 victory to claim the Region 1A championship.
Madison McClain scored a game-high 20 points on her way to being named Tournament MVP. Taylor Berry provided 11 points and Piper Helle added 10 points.
Sonya Wagner produced a team-high 17 points for North Greene. Wagner was named to the All-Tournament team alongside Hannah Miller and Grace Buchanan.
North Greene will have a chance to punch their ticket to the state tournament on Saturday afternoon when they travel to Oneida. Hampton will host Harriman. Both games are set to tip off at 7:00.
“We’ll go do our work. We’ll get our preparation in and we’ll hopefully give ourselves the best chance to win,” Buchanan expressed.