No one had defeated Oneida at home in substate – until Hampton came to town.
The Lady Bulldogs held on for a thrilling 42-41 victory over the Lady Indians to punch a ticket to the TSSAA Class A State Championship on Saturday night. It snaps a three-year drought from Murfreesboro for Hampton and was the first time the Lady Indians had lost at home in substate.
The early going was slow offensively for the Lady Bulldogs.
After Bayley Thomas gave Oneida a 5-0 lead to open the game, Hampton responded with buckets from Megan Garland and Bree Hoyle to pull within 5-4 at the midpoint. The Lady Indians scored the final four points of the first quarter to take a 9-4 lead.
Hampton was unable to get the offensive attack rolling until the five-minute mark of the second quarter when Alexus Grubbs knocked down a shot. A Kinzey Hill 3-pointer kicked off a 12-2 run over the final 3:45 of the first half as Hampton rolled to an 18-16 lead at the break.
The second half was a back-and-forth heavyweight match.
Garland opened the scoring with two free throws, but Emily Brooks scored five quick points after a Thomas jumper to regain the lead for OHS. Grubbs, however, wouldn’t be out-dueled as she had five points of her own as HHS took a 25-20 lead at the midpoint of the quarter.
Oneida countered a Garland bucket as part of a 9-2 to swing the lead five points in the Lady Indians’ favor.
Shy Tuelle and Garland worked efficiently in the final minute as both hit shots to tie the game at 32-32 heading into the fourth quarter.
Tuelle broke the stalemate with a bucket at the six-minute mark and added an old-fashioned 3-point play to give HHS a 37-33 lead with 4:56 showing on the clock. Oneida pulled back within two points before Hope Bridgeman scored on an and-one of her own to push the lead back out.
The frantic minute saw the Lady Indians make a quick rally.
Thomas added a pair of free throws with 50 seconds remaining and Emily Bertum added a pair with 24 seconds left after a Hampton offensive foul. Another Lady Bulldog turnover with 19 seconds gave Oneida a chance, but the shot was short as Tuelle grabbed the rebound.
The Lady Indians had a shot for a desperation heave with a second remaining but missed sparking a celebration with the Hampton faithful.
Grubbs had 15 points to lead the Lady Bulldogs. Tuelle had 11 points, while Garland added eight points. Hoyle and Bridgeman tallied three points each. Hoyle rounded out the Hampton scoring with two points.
Thomas had 16 points to lead Oneida. Brooks added eight points.
The Lady Bulldogs will find out their match-up on Sunday for the state tournament. It is the first trip to Murfreesboro for the senior class.