It was an instant classic in Roan Mountain Friday night.
The Lady ‘Landers erased a double-digit halftime deficit to rally and take a thrilling 52-49 victory over Hampton inside a packed Sonny Smith Gymnasium.
In the boys’ game, the Bulldogs pulled away in the second half to take a 77-48 win over the ‘Landers.
The girls’ game lived up to the expectations of being one of the top games in the state.
Piper Helle opened the scoring for Hampton, but Ella Benfield scored back-to-back points to give CHS an early 4-2 advantage. Madi McClain and Helle combined for a 9-3 Hampton run, but CHS battled back to trim the lead to 15-12 after a quarter of play.
After McKinney opened the scoring in the second quarter, Taylor Berry kickstarted a 9-4 Lady Bulldog run, and Hampton ended the quarter on an 8-0 run to take a 32-20 lead into the half.
The third quarter saw Cloudland get things going inside the paint.
Benfield scored seven straight points as Cloudland chipped into the lead to open the third quarter. Macy Henry and Helle hit shots to stop the run, but Ryan Turbyfill hit key shots as CHS tied the game at 38-38 on an Isabella Christman jumper.
Faye Carrico hit a short jumper at the buzzer to send Hampton into the fourth with a 40-38 lead.
Cloudland regained their first lead of the night since 4-2 with back-to-back shots from Benfield. After Carrico tied things up at 42-42 with 6:38 to play, Makenzie Street scored four straight points to push Cloudland back into the lead.
Hampton continued to battle, but Cloudland was able to secure the game with timely shots down the stretch.
Benfield led the Lady ‘Landers with 23 points, while McKinney had 12 points for Cloudland despite leaving the game shortly after halftime due to injury.
Turbyfill and Christman added seven and six points, respectively.
Helle led Hampton with 14 points, while Henry scored 11 points. McClain had eight points.
Ryleigh Nickels and Linsey Jenkins had six and five points, respectively.
It was the first loss of the season for the Lady Bulldogs.
In the boys’ game, it was a back-and-forth battle early on.
Cadon Buckles opened the scoring for Hampton, but Eli Morgan quickly countered for Cloudland.
After a quick Hampton run gave the Bulldogs an 11-7 lead, Caden Clarke and Morgan hit back-to-back shots to push Cloudland back in front.
Michael Anspaugh and Hayden Campbell snapped the run with back-to-back shots for the Bulldogs, and Hampton took a 19-15 lead into the second quarter.
The teams traded shots to open the second quarter as Hampton slowly pulled out to a 32-21 lead by the half.
The Bulldogs started to take control in the third.
Hampton started the quarter on a 21-6 run that was started by a 3-pointer from Dylan Trivette and included shots from five other Bulldogs. That allowed HHS to take a 55-32 lead after three-quarters of play.
Cloudland continued to battle, but Hampton was able to erase any thoughts of a CHS comeback.
Geno Carrico led the way for the Bulldogs with 15 points, while Anspaugh finished with 13 points. Buckles had 11 points.
Campbell scored 10 points.
Sexton led Cloudland with 15 points. Gage McKinney had 11 points, while Morgan ended the night with 10 points.
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