HAMPSHIRE – Ryan Cork has distributed the basketball to his Hampshire teammates too often during his career to be bothered by a temporary scoring drought.
So when the senior point guard didn’t account for any first-half points when Woodstock North’s defense locked down on him, he let others carry the offensive load.
The two remaining quarters would be more than enough time for him to make up for it.
Cork scored all of his team-high 17 points in the second half as the Whip-Purs’ balanced scoring attack was more than enough enough to take care of the visiting Thunder in a 68-56 Fox Valley Conference Fox Division victory Saturday.
Hampshire (6-11 overall, 3-1 FVC Fox) rode the momentum of Cork’s second-half shooting, growing its lead to 21 before holding off a late Woodstock North fourth-quarter surge.
For Cork, it was just a matter of remaining patient while his teammates – led by Drew Doran’s 15 points and 14 by Matthew Bridges – helped Hampshire build what proved to be an insurmountable scoreboard advantage.
“That was huge,” Cork said. “[Woodstock North’s] effort is huge, and you know they’re never going to go away. So it was huge to build that lead.”
Doran and Bridges proved to be Cork’s biggest benefactors early on, helping Hampshire turn a two-point lead at the end of the first quarter into a 10-point halftime lead. One Cork got rolling, the Whip-Purs’ lead only continued to grow.
But after doubling their lead, the Whip-Purs had to turn on the offense again in the final minutes after the Thunder (5-11, 0-2) whittled the deficit to nine points with 1:43 remaining.
“With that big of a lead, it’s tough for young kids to be able to pass and cut and cut – we didn’t need to score. We just need to run time and get fouled,” Hampshire coach Bob Barnett said. “But with a young team, they’re going to make those mistakes. You live with it and you learn from it – I hope.”
Woodstock North cut into the second-half lead with balanced scoring of its own. Drake Creighton led the charge with 17 points to go along with Leonel Ortiz (12 points) and Josh Jandron (11 points).
But like Hampshire, the Thunder got caught trying to do too much, which kept them from being able to completely make up for its earlier offensive struggles.
“We don’t stick with our game plan and what works best for this team,” Woodstock North coach Steve Ryan said. “Then we shoot quick shots and don’t get enough touches and then we don’t play very good defense.
“We’ve sort of had that same issue all year long.”