By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
HAMPTON–You wont find a better rival game than Johnson County and Hampton and the jam packed crowd inside of White-VanHuss Gymnasium showed why on Friday. The Longhorns appeared to be headed for another upset win but fell 51-48 to the Bulldogs in their final regular season game.
Johnson County led 46-39 with 2:59 remaining but a clutch three by Hamptons Stone Hutchinson ignited an 11-2 run that allowed them to escape with a three-point win.
We didnt play smart down the stretch but there was a point in the second quarter that we let them back in it, said Johnson Countys head coach Austin Atwood. We couldnt get a rebound after Chase (Phillips) picked up his third foul and they got four or five offensive ones in a row and turned them into points. We had a chance to put them away but didnt. Hampton played a great second half and the crowd on both sides was unbelievable. This is the type of game that both teams needed going into the District tournament next week. Im proud of our kids for the way they competed because Hamptons a talented basketball team.
The game turned into a throwback contest and gave fans something that high school basketball has been lacking for quite some time. Very few shots went uncontested and both teams played their fannies off.
Johnson County (15-13) used four points by Chase Phillips and a three-ball from Jose Guzman to lead 10-5 after one. But things would change in the second quarter after Phillips was whistled for his third foul.
His trifecta and two free throws gave Johnson County a 20-10 lead midway through the second quarter. But a monster dunk by Stanley Valentine ignited the crowd helping Hampton to pull within five at the half.
Valentine scored nine points in the quarter after failing to hit a field goal in the first. Guzmans seven points enabled Johnson County to stay in front after Phillips went to the bench with 4:07 showing.
The Longhorns sprinted out the gate to start the third quarter using a runner by Bud Icenhour and four points from Phillips to go up by 11 at 38-27.
Hampton (21-7) kept chipping away using buckets from Hutchinson and Valentine to get within five at 38-33 going into the final period.
The Longhorns were playing well and holding a seven-point advantage when all of sudden the tide changed.
Coby Jones hit a jumper that got them within one; then Valentines bucket gave them a 49-48 advantage with 1:02 remaining. Adam McClain upped the margin to three with a pair of free throws with 29 seconds remaining.
The Horns had a chance to tie but missed the last shot allowing the states sixth ranked team in Class 1-A to escape with the victory.
Hamptons only other lead before Valentines basket was at 2-0 in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs showed a lot of savvy coming back from an 11-point deficit but Johnson County was kicking itself for helping the cause.
To read the entire article, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.