A five-minute stretch changed everything for Hampton on Saturday night.
The Lady Bulldogs were unable to rally late in a 44-41 loss to South Greene on Saturday night in the Region 1-A Championship game after the Lady Rebels erased a double-digit halftime deficit.
Hampton will now travel to Oliver Springs for their substate game on Monday night with a trip to Murfreesboro on the line.
““The first five minutes of the third quarter, I thought we backed down a little bit,” Hampton Head Coach Bud Hazelwood said. “They got physical but South Greene is just bigger and stronger then us. The good thing about basketball – at least this game – is you have a chance to bounce back. We defensed the socks off of them in the first half. They adjusted in the second half, and we didn’t adjust.”
Hampton controlled the game early as Alexus Grubbs and Tatum Street scored early baskets to take a 7-2 lead midway through the first quarter. After Ashton Wykle hit the first field goal for SG at the 3:47 mark, Shyanne Tuelle and Grubbs hit back-to-back 3-pointers to help power Hampton to a 13-7 lead heading to the second quarter.
The Lady Bulldogs quickly extended the advantage to 10 points with points from Tuelle and Grubbs. Five Grubbs points gave Hampton a 13-point lead, but South Greene trimmed it back to 24-14 at the break.
In the third quarter, the momentum shifted to the Lady Rebels’ side. Lyndsey Cutshaw scored 10 points in the opening minutes as part of a 15-2 run that saw South Greene take a 29-26 lead with just over four minutes to play in the quarter. Tuelle snapped the run with a jumper and Street pushed Hampton back into the lead with a jumper. The teams traded shots to wrap up the quarter as Kim Swearingen made full use of an and one to give Hampton a 33-31 lead heading to the fourth quarter.
In the final period, South Greene pushed out to a two-point lead before Alexis Bowers pushed Hampton back ahead. However, the Lady Rebels converted free throws down the stretch to secure the win.
“We played in the district tournament, Hampton came out with the upper hand at the start of the third quarter and took the lead on us,” South Greene Head Coach Stephen Gragg said. “We did the opposite tonight. We challenged our kids to try and attack more offensively. We did a lot of standing around in our offense, and I thought the key was our guards starting penetrating and hit a few 3-pointers that sparked us. We just had to get out of that stagnant offense.”
Grubbs led the way for Hampton with 16 points, while Tuelle tossed in 13 points. Street had six points in the game.
Cutshaw finished with 15 points, 11 of which came in the third quarter.