By Kenneth Schott
HAMPSHIRE— By the time Hampshire’s pressure defense affected visiting Bruceton, the Hawks were too far down to take advantage.
Cutting into a 20-point deficit Friday night, Hampshire got the margin down to four before eventually taking a 51-43 loss.
In the first half, the Tigers were able to beat the press and either get the ball to open shooters for 3-pointers or score on transition layups.
Bruceton connected on 4-of-10 from 3-point range in the first half, including an off-balance, partially blocked trey by Caleb Haskin to give his team a 25-13 lead just before intermission.
“They hit some big 3s in the first half,” said Hampshire coach Jon Paul Jones, whose team converted only 4-of-16 field goal attempts in the opening two quarters. “That 3 right before halftime, that was a real back-breaker.
“We had some good looks, we just couldn’t get them down. Our shooting percentage was terrible, but it is what it is.”
Bruceton opened the third period with a 14-6 spurt to take a 39-19 lead, the biggest of the game.
But Hampshire’s pressure started paying off in the fourth quarter. The Hawks forced turnovers and converted baskets off the turnovers to chip into the lead.
With just over a minute remaining, the margin was down to 47-43, but the Tigers converted free throws in the final minute to hold on.
“Our kids never quit, but we’ve got to learn how to win,” said Jones, whose team fell to 0-3 – despite a game-high 17 points from Cameryn Bass — and has now dropped 47 straight.
Haskin and Thomas Crews scored 12 each to lead Bruceton.
Smokin’ Stephens sparks Lady Hawks: Kayla Stephens missed her first two 3-pointers Friday, but she kept shooting.
Hampshire’s junior guard then connected on seven of her next eight shot attempts, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range, to score 18 first-quarter points en route to an eventual 69-31 victory over Bruceton.
Stephens boosted the Lady Hawks to a 28-4 first-quarter lead, and the visitors never gained ground. The clock continually ran in the fourth quarter due to the mercy rule.
Kortney Rowland led the Lady Hawks with 20 points, all in the paint, as the hosts improved to 2-1 with the win.
Next up: Hampshire is set to host a Monday doubleheader against McEwen, before traveling Tuesday to Cornersville and closing the week with a Friday trip to Perry County.
Bruceton boys 51, Hampshire 43
B 12 13 14 12 – 51
H 7 6 6 24 – 43
Bruceton (51) — Caleb Haskin 12, Thomas Crews 12, Austin Craig 11, Cameron Lowe 5, Noah Hampton 5, Daniel Inman 4, Tate Crews 2
Hampshire (43) — Cameryn Bass 17, Ethan Bowden 12, Payden Seaman 5, Jed Page 4, Grayson Morton 3, Errette Delk 2
3-pointers – Bruceton 8 (Haskin, Th. Crews 3, Craig 3, Lowe), Hampshire 3 (Bass, Bowden, Morton)
Hampshire girls 69, Bruceton 31
B 4 8 8 11 – 31
H 28 14 20 7 – 69
Bruceton (31) — Leagan Binkley 9, Malorie Clements 9, Neveah Davis 7, Taleigha Weatley 2, McKenzie Burton 2, Hailey Forrest 2
Hampshire (69) — Kortney Rowland 20, Kayla Stephens 18, Karlee Rowland 10, Madison Cagle 6, Kadence Stoner 6, Ansley Stoner 6, Hailey Potts 2, Rachel Savage 1
3-pointers – Bruceton 4 (Binkley 2, Davis 2), Hampshire 6 (Stephens 4, Cagle 2)