BLOUNTVILLE - North Greene’s run of five consecutive District 1-1A Championships came to an end Monday night in a 55-42 loss to Hampton.
“They present all kinds of matchup problems,” North Greene Head Coach James Buchanan stated. “It’s just a tough team for us to defend. That’s our third time trying. We tried doing something different today and it didn’t work out very good, so that’s on me. I hope we have a chance to play them again because that would mean it’d be in the regional championship, but we’ve got a long time before we even need to try to think about that.”
The Lady Bulldogs won their first conference title in thirteen years dating back to 2010. After a 7-1 run in the regular season that earned them the top spot in the tournament, they secured both the regular season and tournament championships in the same season with tonight’s victory.
It was not an easy win with North Greene giving them all they could handle in the first quarter.
Grace Buchanan beat Hampton’s press defense across half court and scored the first points of the night on a tough layup.
On the following possession, Lindsey Jenkins buried a three-point basket for Hampton. Haley Bailey scored a pair of layups in the paint to help the Lady Huskies regain the lead.
Hampton was able to regain the lead on free throws until Buchanan fired away from a couple feet behind the line for a deep triple. Sonya Wagner and Madison McClain took turns trading floaters on each end of the floor.
Buchanan didn’t have any problem finding the bottom of the net in the first frame with another deep three-pointer from way downtown.
Taylor Berry finished the quarter with a layup to close the gap to one point. North Greene held a slim 16-15 lead after the first.
The Lady Huskies came out in the first quarter and took control early. It was a different story in the second quarter with the Lady Bulldogs knocking down two three-point bombs on their way to pulling out to a 23-16 lead in the early stages.
Bailey and Cambell Gaby helped North Greene find some offense with layups in the paint to gain for some lost ground.
Ryleigh Nickles became Hampton’s go-to scorer in the second quarter with eight points to help them gain a double-digit advantage before the end of the half. A pair of three-point buckets and a layup in transition put them up 33-22.
Buchanan rushed down the hardwood to lay the ball off the glass right as the buzzer sounded. Hampton led 33-24 at the intermission.
The Lady Huskies found success in the low post and in the paint to start the third. Gaby separated herself from the defense and gave herself a wide-open layup behind the press. Hannah Miller scored four-straight in the low post with one of those buckets assisted by Gaby after she pulled down an offensive rebound.
Piper Helle poked the ball away on a back tip and charged towards the hoop for a layup.
With 5:29 left in the third quarter, Sonya Wagner took a scary fall under the basket and would miss majority of the second half. She would return late in the fourth quarter.
After play resumed, the Lady Huskies wouldn’t get a basket to fall from the field for the rest of the quarter. Hampton would take advantage of this and feed the ball to Macy Henry in the post for a layup. Berry spotted up from outside the arc and sent a three-pointer streaking through the net.
Hampton would extend their lead to 46-35 at the end of the third frame.
Bailey got a running floater to bounce off the back iron and through the net for a bucket to start the fourth. Gaby snuck behind the defense again for a wide-open layup underneath the glass. The well would run dry for North Greene as they wouldn’t get another bucket to fall until Sonya Wagner stepped back on the floor and got a running floater to fall with 38 seconds left.
Hampton would ease their way to a 55-42 win to claim the District 1-1A championship.
Lindsey Jenkins led the Lady Bulldogs with 11 points on her way to winning Tournament MVP.
Grace Buchanan scored a team-high 13 points for North Greene. Buchanan earned All-Conference and All-Tournament honors post game. Haley Bailey and Sonya Wagner were named to the All-Tournament team also. Zoe Sanders and Wagner were named to the All-Conference team for their efforts throughout the regular season.
Coach James Buchanan split a share of the coach of the year honors as well.
North Greene’s season isn’t over yet though. They will host Jellico on Friday for their first-round matchup in the Region 1-1A Tournament.
“It’s been a great year and a great team to coach. Hopefully we won’t be done for awhile,” Buchanan said.