By Maurice Patton
HAMPSHIRE — Sometimes you’d rather be wrong.
For Jon Paul Jones, that moment came with about three minutes remaining in the third quarter of the Hampshire boys basketball team’s season opener Monday night against visiting Collinwood.
“Before the game, I’d told their coach (Jacob Gobble), ‘we’ve got two boys that’ll play tonight that are just balls of energy; one of ‘em is going to score for you tonight’,” Jones recalled.
“I jinxed myself.”
Indeed. With his team trying to cut into an eight-point deficit that had been as much as 12 earlier in the period, Hawks freshman Peyton Morton grabbed a defensive rebound – then went back up and scored.
The basket was credited to Collinwood’s Joe Houston Thompson, who officially finished with a game-high 22 points as the Trojans held Hampshire off down the stretch for a 55-49 win.
Morton saw significant time Monday as the Hawks were without Kendell Morton and Blake Morrow for disciplinary reasons – the same reason that Cameryn Bass was limited to only playing in the second half of the contest, during which he scored a team-high 17 points.
“We were shorthanded because of some issues,” Jones said. “It is what it is. (Hopefully we) get it out of the way now so we don’t have to deal with it.”
Despite their personnel shortcomings, the Hawks – whose 45-game losing streak dates to Nov. 27, 2018 – were tied with the visitors 10-10 a minute into the second quarter after a Payden Seamen free throw and were only down 20-15 at intermission. But Collinwood broke the game open with seven straight points to start the second half, went up 31-21 on the Morton miscue and led by as many as 14 when Thompson converted a three-point play with 36.8 seconds left in the third period.
Collinwood’s free throw woes nearly let the hosts back into the contest, though. The Trojans, who went 21-for-37 from the line for the night, hit 12 of 24 in the final eight minutes – while Bass scored 12 points in the fourth quarter. His second 3-pointer in as many possessions pulled Hampshire within 50-45 with 2:25 remaining, and Errette Delk’s baseline drive made it a three-point game 27 seconds later.
Although Collinwood went just 5-for-10 from the stripe the rest of the way, Hampshire was unable to take advantage.
“When we get down 10 (points), that’s usually when it turns bad,” Jones said. “These kids are a little different, though. They’ve got some heart about them.
“We’ve got something to build on here.”
Though the coach didn’t second-guess his decision to sit three key contributors – all will be available for Tuesday’s trip to Zion Christian – he admitted to a ‘what-if’ thought after Bass’s second-half surge.
“He’s a great kid,” Jones said of the junior. “He’s going to do some great things. We’ve got to get a leader out there, and he’s trying to be it.”
Opening-night jitters, 10 3s tough combo: In the girls clash, Hampshire couldn’t keep pace with the visiting Trojanettes – trailing by eight in the first seven minutes and hardly denting that margin in an eventual 58-45 loss.
“Collinwood played like we thought they would,” said Lady Hawks assistant Darah Owens, pressed into head coaching duties with Ronnie Brewer in quarantine as his wife, Lisa, recently tested positive for COVID-19. “They got up in our face, played aggressive defense, and No. 13 and No. 20 shot the lights out. And we didn’t respond.”
Sophie Gobbell (No. 20) hit five 3-pointers, including two of her team’s five in the opening quarter, and A.C. Whitehead (No. 13) matched that initial long-distance performance to spark the visitors early. Gobbell scored a game-high 21 points and Whitehead added 17.
“We had a lot of mental mistakes,” Owens said. “We had 27 turnovers, we gave up 12 offensive rebounds. That alone will beat a team. We had a lot of mental mistakes we have to regroup and recover from. We don’t have a lot of time to waste thinking about this one.”
In addition to Brewer – who is not expected to return until this weekend – the Lady Hawks have a couple of players in quarantine as well.
“We obviously miss him not being here,” Owens said. “We’ve got Zion Tuesday, Bruceton Friday, and he comes back Saturday.
“We’ve not had a practice yet with our full team. Coming off the (Thanksgiving) break, that put us behind a little. We definitely had first-game jitters. But the girls played hard.”
Karlee Rowland scored a team-high 11 points, with Kadence Stoner coming off the bench for another 10.
Collinwood boys 55, Hampshire 49
C 10 10 17 18 – 55
H 9 6 12 22 – 49
Collinwood (55) – Dayton Scott 4, Peyton Ward 13, Noah Haddock 8, Joe Houston Thompson 22, Aidan Baskins 5, Benson Blalock 3
Hampshire (49) – Payden Seamen 6, Cameryn Bass 17, Errette Delk 7, Ethan Bowden 4, Tucker Ford 9, Jed Page 6
3-pointers – Collinwood 0, Hampshire 5 (Bass 2, Delk, Bowden, Ford)
Collinwood girls 58, Hampshire 45
C 17 15 13 13 – 58
H 12 12 10 11 – 45
Collinwood (58) – Harlee Haddock 6, Rhianna McWilliams 8, A.C. Whitehead 17, Sophie Gobbell 21, Asia Kelly 6
Hampshire (45) – Hailey Potts 5, Kortney Rowland 2, Ansley Stoner 6, Kayla Stephens 7, Kadence Stoner 10, Madison Cagle 4, Karlee Rowland 11
3-pointers – Collinwood 10 (Haddock 2, Whitehead 3, Gobbell 5), Hampshire 1 (Stephens)
All photos by Vanessa Beach / SM-Tn Sports