Lebanon Senior's 1,000th Point Is Extra Special for Brother
Lebanon’s David Hampton hugs his mother, Cindy Hampton, and his brother, DJ, after scoring his 1,000th point on a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left on the clock against Milford last night. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »
Lebanon High senior David Hampton signs autographs for Alexis Matte, 11, left, and Shiane Welch, 11, after scoring his 1,000th point last night.(Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »
Lebanon's David Hampton takes a shot during his attempt at scoring his 1000th point against Milford. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »
Nikayla Cartier of Lebanon High School shows her support for senior David Hampton as he works for his 1000th point during the Raiders' 50 - 41 win over Milford. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »
Lebanon's David Hampton struggles toward the basket covered by Milford's Harrison Urda, left, and Connor Gosselin of Milford during their game in Lebanon. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »
Lebanon — With the cheers of “Let’s Go David, Let’s Go!” ringing in his ears last night, Lebanon High senior David Hampton drove down to the right baseline with destiny in his hands and time running out on the clock.
It was not Hampton’s best performance, but as it turned out, it was the best night.
Suffering from an off-shooting night and desperately trying to find his stroke for a final 3-point attempt, the Raiders’ star guard shrugged off three Milford defenders draping his shoulders and dropped a rainbow right down the twine.
With 11.2 seconds remaining, Lang Metcalf gym erupted in cheers as Hampton raced to the stands and embraced his family. The chase was over. The jitters were gone and it was in the books: 22 points on the night and 1,000 points in his career.
What made the evening all the more special was that David Hampton was able to share the moment with his brother, Air Force Staff Sgt. Dan Hampton, Jr., who had taken leave from his posting at the United States Army Garrison (USAG) Hohenfels Training Area in Hohenfels, Germany, to be on hand for his younger brother’s special night.
As a freshman, David Hampton brought a reputation, a nickname and an attitude to the Lebanon basketball team.
Nearly four years later, Hampton has eliminated all unnecessary extras. As he has grown up, he has pared things down to what is necessary and productive. All he’s got now is game. And quite a game it is.
That game was put on display last night, when Hampton become the 13th player in Lebanon history to score at least 1,000 points in a career. It was also the first time since Joe Faucher in 1996 that a member of the boys team reached that mark.
It almost didn’t happen.
Hampton missed his first five shots and managed only a single 3-pointer in each of the first two quarters, leaving him 16 points away from his milestone.
A trio of 3-pointers in the final 2:32 of the third quarter, however, put the target in his sights.
A pair of 1-and-1 conversions from the free throw line brought Hampton to within three points of the mark with 1:06 to play. It looked as if he was going to be denied, with a combination of Milford’s defense and keeping his shots out of the basket until his record-setting attempt.
“I promised David that if he did it, I would come and see the game,” said DJ Hampton. “I had missed so many of his games. It was just so important to me.”
DJ had seen his younger brother play in person only one time before — that being Tuesday when David poured in 34 points against Kingswood, leaving him 22 points short of 1,000. DJ had seen his brother on compete on DVD and online streaming vido ... but never in the flesh.
That’s because the older Hampton was otherwise occupied. Since 2006, he has served three tours of active duty in Afghanistan as a joint terminal attack controller. The Upper Valley was just a little out of his range.
But while the brothers were out of each other’s sight, they were never far out of each other’s thoughts. Since his freshman year, to honor his older brother’s service, David began covering his heart in salute during the playing of the National Anthem.
Tuesday night was the first time DJ had seen the salute in person. “I don’t know if I can express how special that was. It means a lot to me,” he said talking from his parents’ home in Hartland on Thursday.
Having DJ home and watching from the stands was special to the entire family.
“I am so overwhelmed with happiness. So proud of both of them,” his mom, Cindy, said earlier yesterday. “For them to be able to share this moment speaks volumes for the love they share as brothers and the respect they have for each other as athletes.
“As a mom, it doesn’t get any better than this.”
Lebanon coach Kieth Matte was most proud to see his star’s evolution from pure shooter to team leader at point guard.
“It’s been wonderful to watch David’s progress. He’s the hardest working kid on the team,” said Matte.
“During the summer he must take 500 shots a day ... always trying to work on his game to get better. And you can see it on the floor, his points now come effortlessly. And he makes the people around him better. He’s the ultimate team player.”
Hampton also recognizes how far his game has come today. “I was a shooter then, but I’m a lot more of a team player now, letting the game come to me,” he said this week. “I don’t worry about my points. I just do what my team needs me to do.
“But as for individual goals, they take a back seat any day to winning a championship.”
David Hampton smiles when he talks about DJ, about the all-out games they had in their younger days on Upper Valley basketball courts.
“As a young kid, I wanted to play like him,” David said. “When we were younger he would beat up on me. I got my competitive edge from him.
“Now he teases me about my game, like telling me I didn’t shoot well in the last game. Stuff that brothers say. It will be awesome to see him in the stands. It means so much that he is here.”
DJ Hampton, 24, who recently reenlisted for another four-year tour, will soon be heading back to Germany.
“I’m so proud of him, what he’s accomplished,” DJ said. “He’s so dedicated and such a hard worker. To see how much he’s changed and how he’s developed into a leader is so cool.
“And being here for it was the best.”
Don Mahler can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3225.