GREENSBORO — When Christain Hampton caught the basketball on the right wing with no one blocking his path and the clock winding down on the first half, the Northwest Guilford guard had one thought.
“I wasn’t really thinking about anything but throwing down the dunk and bringing some momentum,” Hampton said.
The senior guard soared with the ball cupped in his left hand and windmilled it above the top of the square on the backboard, but he didn’t quite thrown down the dunk and he didn’t bring momentum. He did bring down the rim and shattered the backboard tonight at Grimsley’s Robert Sawyer Gymnasium.
“As soon as I threw it down, the rim just came down with me,” Hampton said. “I knew the rim was going to catch up with me as hard as I’m dunking.”
The 6-foot-2 senior was showered with tempered glass as he crashed to the floor. He took a few steps toward the free-throw line and fell to his back for a few scary minutes as certified athletics trainers treated him. Hampton eventually walked off the floor, shaken but not seriously injured.
The backboard was not as lucky. With the rim hanging from what was left of the shattered glass, the Metro 4-A Conference boys basketball game was suspended with host Grimsley leading Northwest Guilford 35-34 at halftime. The game will be completed at 5 p.m. Saturday at a neutral site, Dudley’s Chester Bradley Gymnasium.
“I told them they could come to Northwest,” Northwest Guilford coach Lee Reavis said jokingly. “But they didn’t want to.”
Neither Reavis nor Grimsley coach Darren Corbett had ever seen a backboard shattered in a game before in person.
“That’s the last thing you expect in a game like this,” said Corbett, who’s seen a lot of basketball as a coach and as the son of the late N.C. A&T coaching legend Don Corbett.
The game has to be completed because it will determine whether Northwest Guilford wins the conference’s regular-season title outright or shares it with Grimsley.
“We just have to put this thing on pause and see when we’ll play again,” Corbett said. “But it’s all right, the young man’s all right and we’ll be ready.”
When the game does resume Saturday, Hampton hopes to be back on the floor. He’ll have the memory of what he did to a backboard at Grimsley tonight to think about between now and then.
“Never done that in my life,” he said.