By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
n the words of Popeye, it was a fight to the finish on Tuesday night inside of White-VanHuss Gymnasium between Hampton and Johnson County. The Bulldogs had just enough at the end to spinach out a dramatic 63-57 non-conference win that wasnt decided until the end.
Head coach Austin Atwood is starting to see his team gel after three horrible performances at the Hardees Classic. He knows that the rest of December is critical for his team to get better.
We want to be good now but we definitely want to be good in January and February, said Atwood. Were playing with a little bit of character and poise now and our effort level has increased tremendously. We turned the ball over two or three times to start the third quarter and felt like thats what got us beat. Weve got to do a better job of coming out and playing well after halftime. Thats on me. But we did see a lot of improvement and things we can build on. Our kids gave a great effort.
The game was tighter than Dicks hat band throughout the first half with neither team having the upper hand.
Johnson County led 8-5 on a three-ball by freshman Blake Atwood but Hampton came back to take the lead at 12-10 on Jared Wiltshires jumper.
The Longhorns maintained a 16-12 advantage getting baskets by Caleb Throop and Jose Guzman but the Dogs matched that in the final .53 seconds.
Dakota Crumley worked the paint for a hoop, then Jose Velasquez scored at the buzzer to tie the game after one. The second stanza was much like the first one with both teams slugging it out.
The Dogs finally took the lead on Adam McClains jumper and stayed in front with the help of five points by Charlie Butler. His three-ball at the buzzer gave them a 27-24 advantage at the half.
Butler continued to light it up from the outside by swishing a pair of treys in the third quarter. Johnson County got five points apiece from Cody Bailie and Bud Icenhour and a three-ball from Sean Lewis but was outscored 18-13 by the Bulldogs.
The dagger came at the buzzer on McClains trifecta, their third buzzer beater in the game.
Hampton led 45-37 heading into the fourth quarter.
Hampton opened up a nine-point advantage early in the fourth on Nathan Normans three-point play but the Horns wouldnt gos away easy.
Baskets by Atwood and Brandon Vannoy cut it back to four and Atwood kept it there with a three-ball.
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