BY TATE RUSSELL
SUN SPORTS WRITER
The Chuckey-Doak boys almost picked up a big-time win to send them into the Christmas break with a little momentum Friday night.
But one final three-pointer clanged off the iron as time expired, allowing visiting Hampton to escape with a 58-55 victory in non-conference action.
The Black Knights completely turned the game around in the second half and took the lead three times after trailing by as many as 11 in the first half.
"Well, we forgot to play the first half," Chuckey-Doak coach Sam Broyles said. "I don't know if we were already on Christmas break or what. In the second half we had the effort and the desire. It came down to execution. We didn't do what we know to do, what we're told to do.
"If it wasn't for (Jared Meredith), it could have been 28-2 at the half. I'm very pleased with how he played."
Meredith scored 13 points in the first half, while the rest of the team totaled just six. He continued his strong play after halftime and finished with 32 points to lead all scorers.
The last time Chuckey-Doak took the lead was with 4:19 remaining when Meredith knocked down a triple from the top of the key to make it 47-46.
Hampton went on a little run after the three-pointer and stretched the lead to six with under a minute left, but the Black Knights refused to back down.
Josh Lamb drove the lane and dropped in a floater from the right side to bring the Knights to within three and then on the next trip down the court Meredith ripped one through the net from way downtown to make it a two-point game with 16 seconds left.
The Knights were able to foul with 7.2 seconds on the cock and Hampton's Cody McClain left an opening by only making one of his charity attempts.
Chuckey-Doak brought the ball up the court quickly and Garren Taylor got a decent look but it was just off to the left and rimmed out as the final horn sounded.
While the final score was disappointing, Broyles felt that the loss was not all bad. He liked how his squad came out with a new level of intensity in the second half after only scoring 19 points in the first half.
"Hampton is a good ball team," he noted. "They beat Unicoi at Unicoi, they beat Elizabethton and we know we have the ability to play with these teams. We just have to learn to finish."
"That was a big thing about last year's team, they finished. They came on after Christmas so we're still hopeful."
The Black Knights fell to 5-8 overall while Hampton improved to 10-2. Chuckey-Doak will return to action in a holiday tournament at Sullivan North on Thursday, December 26 as they take on Morristown West.
While Chuckey-Doak struggled to get the ball in the cylinder in the first half, Hampton's Stanley Valentine certainly did not. The ultra athletic forward put in 12 points before the break and was a tough matchup for the Black Knights the whole way, finishing with 21 points.
Hampton finished the first half up 28-19.
Chuckey-Doak started the third quarter hot and turned the pressure up on the Bulldogs.
In the first four minutes of the second half, Chuckey-Doak outscored Hampton 14-8 and had closed the gap to three points. Josh Lamb was a big part of the comeback and played big on the block down the stretch. He finished second on the team with 13 points.
The Black Knights took their first lead of the game at the 1:47 mark of the third when Ben Gridley fed the ball to Meredith down low and he laid it in to go up 39-38.
The lead did not last very long as Tyler Moody drained a three on the next series and Hampton went into the fourth quarter up 41-40.
The Chuckey-Doak girls could not have gotten off to a much better start Friday night.
Their finish was a different story, though.
The Lady Knights jumped out to a 24-16 lead against visiting Hampton, but faltered in the second half and fell 81-54.
Everything seemed to be clicking for Chuckey-Doak in the first half. They were moving the ball well, passing crisply and all of their shots seemed to fall. Their press was stymieing the Lady Bulldogs and they were converting turnovers into points with ease.
All that changed almost as soon as the second quarter started, though. The lead, which had been 12 at one point, shrank to two in less than four minutes.
"They changed their defense, they went to a zone and it caused us trouble and then we started to throw the ball away," Chuckey-Doak coach Beth Frye said. "We had way too many unforced turnovers. Many of our decision were not the right decisions."
Hampton dominated the second part of the frame and took a 41-35 lead into intermission.
The Lady Bulldogs changed up their defense and Chuckey-Doak gave them a lot of help with some indecisive passing and poor ball handling.
"We just can't turn the ball over like that," Frye added. "We have to take care of ball better in order to win."
To add to Chuckey-Doak's woes, Hampton went on a 17-0 run to start the third quarter while the Lady Knights managed only two points in the entire period.
Monica Olvera hit two three-pointers in that stretch and Alexis Bowers scored seven for Hampton in the third period.
Olvera finished with 20 points, Bowers had 11, Alexus Grubbs had 17 and Kim Swearinger had 11.
Andi Lamb led Chuckey-Doak with 14 points. Hailey Taylor had nine points, eight in the Lady Knights big first quarter.