CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — The Carter County community welcomed the Hampton High School Bulldogs home on Sunday as TSSAA Class 1A boys basketball champions.
The team rolled back into town with a police and fire escort through downtown Elizabethton after topping defending state champions, Middleton, 51-43 in Murfreesboro on Saturday evening.
The win marked Hampton’s first TSSAA basketball championship since 1960, where then-coach Buck Van Huss led the team to victory.
“It was really cool,” said player Cadon Buckles. “And you know, growing up in Hampton, you always hear about the 1960 team and when they won the state championship, and just to meet them and be in the same categories now it’s, it’s a great feeling.”
News Channel 11 spoke with Hampton alum Bobby Stout, who said he played for the boy’s basketball team during the 1960 state championship win.
“There’s no feeling like it that you could explain, it just has to be experienced and it lasts,” Stout said. “Those experiences last a lifetime and tonight, I still have those memories, and I’m so thrilled for these boys because it brings back those thrills to me again.”
Numerous community members were seen lining the streets downtown and at the high school on Sunday evening to welcome the boys back home.
“We turned off the dollar store, man, I mean it was just great, cars on both sides of the road and they’re waving and got signs,” Head Coach Ned Smith told News Channel 11. “We get on up here and cars are parked everywhere. You can hardly get the bus in the parking lot, it’s just the fans here at Hampton are awesome.”
The team told News Channel 11 that they are ready to go home and relax after their long weekend.