It was the ultimate title fight at Chuckey-Doak High School on Monday. Fortunately for Hampton, Coby Jones delivered the knockout punch.
Jones hit an off-balanced layup with 17 seconds remaining to lift Hampton to a 48-47 over South Greene in the Region 1-A title game. The Bulldogs will look to punch a ticket to Murfreesboro on Tuesday by welcoming Meigs County to Hampton for sectional action.
Hampton jumped out early as Stone Hutchinson hit the first bucket of the game and Jones scored the next five points to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead. South Greene, however, warmed up from behind the arc by going on a 9-0 run, including a four-point play from Elijah Worrells. The teams traded points for the rest of the quarter as Stanley Valentine recorded five late first quarter points, but Todd Brown drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift South Greene to a 19-16 lead at the end of the first quarter.
In the first quarter, the Rebels hit five 3-pointers.
Hampton’s Valentine answered a pair of South Greene 3-pointers, but the Rebels extended the lead to eight points midway through the second quarter. Jones, however, went on a personal 7-1 run to close the gap. Valentine hit a bucket to tie the game, but another Rebel buzzer-beater gave South Greene a 33-31 advantage at the half.
After the Rebels hit their ninth 3-pointer of the night to open the third quarter, Valentine answer with shots of his own before South Greene pushed the lead to five points. Hampton battled back with four points from Jones and a Cheyenne Camillo trey to tie the game at 42-42 heading to the final quarter.
Offense slowed down in the final period as Worrells hit a 3-pointer to break the stalemate. Valentine hit back-to-back shots as Hampton regained a one point lead right before the halfway point.
After the Bulldogs ran off two minutes of clock, South Greene answered on the other end to regain the lead sitting off Jones’ heroics in the final seconds.
“I thought Coby got a big rebound and pushed it down the floor,” Hampton Head Coach Ned Smith said. “He got to the hole and finished with just an athletic bucket.”
Hampton forced a South Greene turnover on the final possession to secure the win.
Jones led the way for Hampton with 22 points, while Valentine tossed in 21 points. Worrells led South Greene with 15 points.
“The kids outrebounded them and played hard,” Smith said. “They just did good things. They put the ball where it needed to be to score and played great team ball.”
Hampton turns their attention to Meigs County with a spot in the Bluecross Basketball Championships on the line.
“The kids are going to enjoy the win tonight and we are going to prepare,” Smith said. “We are going to go over our notes and get a scheme ready to play tomorrow. There are no excuses now.”
Tipoff is set for 7p.m.