As their bus was met by Elizabethton Police, Carter County Sheriff’s patrol and its own volunteer fire department shortly after crossing the county line, the taste of championship truly sank in for Hampton’s middle school boys basketball team.
Hours following Saturday’s TMSSA East Tennessee Class AA Sectional title win over Holston, the Junior Bulldogs were given a heroes’ welcome through downtown Elizabethton, Valley Forge and to their home gymnasium.
“It was quite the warm welcoming for our kids coming in,” Hampton coach Dewayne Humphrey recalled Tuesday. “They were stoked about it.”
What was certainly jubilation for Hampton’s team was quite the opposite feeling for Happy Valley’s boys and Unaka’s girls, who each fell in their respective semi-final sectional bouts on Friday.
Regardless of their finish, from first place to semifinalists, the three teams represented Carter County well as they battled through tournament play.