HAMPSHIRE – Friday was senior night for Hampshire’s boys basketball team as the Whip-Purs honored four-year starter Ryan Cork and Eric Diaz De Leon.
When the game did start, the visiting Jacobs Golden Eagles made sure that it wasn’t going to be a great night for Cork and company. Jacobs jumped out to an early lead before withstanding a Whip-Purs rally midway through the game and eventually pulling away for a 68-55 Fox Valley Conference crossover win to end the regular season in front of a large and loud crowd.
Jacobs (15-13) scored early and often over the first 16 minutes of play and had a 30-20 halftime lead. The Golden Eagles scored the first four points of the second half and held a 14-point lead early in the third.
The Whips weren’t going to allow Jacobs to cruise home, however, scoring 19 of the next 25 points to pull within 40-39 late in the third quarter. The Whips could get no closer, though, and while they had their chances to tie the game or take the lead in the fourth quarter, they were unable to do so.
Jacobs began to dominate at the free-throw line in the fourth, led by Chrishawn Orange. Orange scored 14 of his game-high 27 points over the final eight minutes and went 9-for-10 from the line over that time. Orange said that he is used to loud crowds trying to distract him.
“We have had a lot of great atmospheres to play in like Huntley and (Dundee)-Crown and a couple of South games have been good,” Orange said. “I’ve been under pressure a lot and I just take it one by one going the free throws. I just try to get one down and try to get the next one down.”
Jacobs coach Jimmy Roberts said that it was great for his team to be in a situation where they had to hold onto the lead late in a game after their opponent had made a run.
“I think it was a good game for us to be involved in,” Roberts said. “It was a great atmosphere and the exciting thing is that we have played in atmospheres like that the last three or four games. It’s good that they made a run at us. We had to handle that situation. They cut it to one and we did a good job of just staying calm and executing.
Kenton Mack and Cameron Krutwig each added ten points for Jacobs. Cork led Hampshire (13-14) with 17 points while Matthew Bridges had 14 and Drew Doran added 11.