BY WAYNE PHILLIPS
SPORTS EDITOR EMERITUS
Hampton Coach Leon Tolley has been around senior point guard Dorothy Dugger long enough to know that when she gets on a roll, she can have some fun on the basketball floor.
In a showdown between two of the state's top-10 ranked Class A basketball teams, Dugger and her Lady Bulldog teammates had fun at the expense of homestanding North Greene Friday night, rallying from a horrid first half to capture a 57-54 thriller before another large crowd inside Jerome Woolsey Gymnasium.
The win by Hampton's girls gave the visitors a road sweep of the Huskies as the Bulldogs won the second half of the twin-bill by a 54-36 margin.
The Huskies have no time to rest as cross-county rival South Greene invades the Huskies' Den tonight.
DUGGER SCORES 27 IN WIN
Dugger was on fire for Hampton in the second half, finishing with a game-best 27 points, 15 of those coming in the third quarter when the Bulldogs were able to overcome a 14-point deficit early in the period.
"She was a little bit frustrated with her play in the first half," Tolley said after his Lady Bulldogs improved to 16-4 on the year and 1-1 in the Watauga Valley Conference. "North Greene schooled us in the first half. They played their tempo, their pace. We got the second half going at our faster pace. Dorothy got going. You could see the twinkle in her eyes. Then Olvera (Monica) made a couple of long ones."
It was the Huskies (14-6, 1-3) who had the hot hand in the opening two quarters. They bolted to an 11-4 first quarter lead and held an 18-4 advantage three minutes deep in the second period. Hampton was able to close to 29-17 by intermission.
Katelyn Weems made a basket to start the third period and put NG up 31-17, but then the momentum quickly changed to the way of the blue-clad Bulldogs. Dugger began making shots from all spots and every angle. She hit four 3-pointers in the quarter and Olvera made two more.
"Other than change our press a little bit, we didn't do a whole lot different in the second half," Tolley said, "except our half-court defense was a whole lot better."
After Olvera's 3-pointer put Hampton in the lead for the first time at 36-35 with 3:40 left, North Greene slapped back, getting 3-point baskets from Weems and McNeese to go back up 41-36.
But that lead was short-lived. When the horn sounded ending the third, Hampton had put 30 points on the board and was leading 47-43.
Hampton never gave up the lead in the final quarter, but the Huskies were always right there. Missed free throws (Hampton made only 5-of-14 in the fourth quarter and 11-of-24 for the game) kept North Greene in it.
Down 55-50 with 27 seconds left, McNeese knocked down a 3-pointer and was fouled in the process, making the free toss for a four-point play and a 55-54 deficit. But McNeese, who scored 25 in the game, fouled out on the ensuing possession.
Still the Huskies had a chance when two more Hampton free throws were missed with 19 seconds to go.But a 3-pointer from the corner by NG missed badly, Hampton's Alexis Bowers got the rebound, and she knocked down both tosses to boost the lead to 57-54 with four seconds left.
North Greene couldn't get a shot off before the final horn sounded.
"We knew it would be a battle," Tolley said. "It always is when we play them. I'm wore out and I didn't play a second."
Dugger's 27 points led Hampton, while Danielle Guinn scored nine and had eight rebounds. North Greene, in addition to McNeese's 25, got a double-double from Laiken Morrow with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Hampton entered the game ranked No. 10 in the Associated Press weekly poll, while the Lady Huskies were tied at No. 7
HAMPTON (57): Dorothy Dugger 9-16 4-5 27, Olvera2-5 0-1 6, Guinn 3-12 2-10 9, Bowers 2-3 4-6 8, Montgomery 2-2 0-0 4, Swearingen 0-2 0-0 0, Birchfield 0-2 1-2 1, Weir 1-2 0-0 2.TOTALS: 19-44 11-24 57.
NORTH GREENE (54): Guelli 0-4 0-0 0, Bailey 2-8 3-4 8, Laiken Morrow 4-11 2-2 12, Weems 3-5 0-1 7, Mendy McNeese 6-14 10-11 25, Mercer 0-0 0-0 0, Baxter 0-1 0-0 0, Harmon 0-0 2-2 2. TOTALS: 15-43 17-20 54.
3-Point Goals: Ha-8 (Dugger 5, Olvera 2, Guinn). NG-7 (McNeese 3, Morrow 2, Bailey, Weems).
Score by quarters:
Hampton 4 13 30 10--57
North Greene 11 18 14 11--54
STRONG SECOND HALF FOR HAMPTON
North Greene played hard and stayed with the tall and talented Hampton Bulldogs for most of three quarters, but their shooting touch failed them badly in the final two quarters as the visitors pulled away to a 54-36 win.
Hampton improves to 13-6 on the year, 1-1 in the league, while North Greene drops to 10-7, 0-4.
Hampton's 6-6 post Johnny Fields scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to guide the winners. Wesley Murray chipped in with a dozen while Cheyenne Camillo had 11.
North Greene got 10 points from Garrett Harbin and eight from Tyler Bailey.
Down 17-12 at the first rest stop, North Greene showed plenty of spunk in the second frame and outscored the Bulldogs 11-7, pulling into the lead at 23-22 on a bucket by Bailey with 3:42 left but then didn't score again in the half. Hampton didn't get much either, but managed a 24-23 lead at intermission.
A 10-3 run in the first three minutes of the third gave Hampton some breathing room, but the game certainly wasn't decided by the horn as Hampton led by only a 38-31 margin.
But the Huskies could get only five points down the stretch, making only 2-of-14 shots from the field. The Bulldogs pulled away as Murray scored nine in the period.
HAMPTON (54): Valentine 2-11 3-7 7, Wesley Murray 5-12 0-1 12, Cheyenne Camillo 4-10 0-0 11, Chambers 2-5 0-0 4, Johnny Fields 7-11 4-4 18, Stout 0-1 0-0 0, Crain 1-1 0-0 2, Ellis 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS: 21-52 7-12 54.
NORTH GREENE (36): Collins 1-5 0-0 3, Bailey 3-12 0-2 8, Garrett Harbin 4-14 1-2 10, Britton 2-8 0-0 5, Pollock 0-0 0-0 0, Kirk 2-4 2-4 6, Mullins 2-5 0-0 4, Hall 0-2 0-0 0. TOTALS: 14-50 3-8 36.
3-Point Goals: Ha-5 (Camillo 3, Murray 2). NG-5 (Bailey 2, Collins, Harbin, Britton).
Score by quarters:
Hampton 17 7 14 16--54
North Greene 12 11 8 5--36