HAMPSHIRE – Hampshire came out hungry, a little angry and scorching hot against Cary-Grove.
The Whip-Purs felt their 17-point loss to Crystal Lake Central in Marengo’s E.C. Nichols Tournament championship last Saturday was not representative of who they really were.
They proved it by riding a torrid first half of shooting, then holding off C-G at the end for a 75-67 Fox Valley Conference victory on Friday.
“This feels really good,” Whips forward Justin Anderson said. “We didn’t play any defense going into the championship game, and [Central] smacked us. So this was a statement game for us.”
Hampshire (9-5, 5-1 FVC) remained one-half game behind Central, which defeated Crystal Lake South on Friday.
“The growth we need to take is mental,” Hampshire coach Ben Whitehouse said. “The last game, we took a step back mentally. This game, we took a step forward. Our guys gained confidence that they could play a competitive game against a good team.”
C-G (11-5, 3-3) was coming off winning Jacobs’ Hinkle Holiday Classic last weekend. The Trojans fell behind, 49-38, at halftime after the Whips shot 68 percent (17 of 25) from the field. Five players hit 3-pointers in the first half.
“We noticed something with their 2-3 zone and how we wanted to attack it,” Whitehouse said. “We really had a good rhythm, whether they were bouncing back and forth from their 2-3 zone to man-to-man. It helped us get a good rhythm and stay there.”
C-G coach Adam McCloud challenged his team at halftime.
“Our intensity was a lot better,” Trojans guard Clark Cunningham said. “We came out strong, won the third quarter and played our hearts out.”
McCloud liked what he saw in the second half.
“I told them, ‘If you keep defending like we’re defending, you’re going to give up 80 and we’re not going to win,’ ” McCloud said. “They came out and took the challenge, and I was super proud of their defensive effort. We just had too many things pile up on us.”
C-G had 19 turnovers and shot 8 of 13 from the line in the second half, yet the Trojans took a lead on L.J. Waco’s layup, 61-60, with 5:30 remaining. The lead lasted only 15 seconds as Collin Woods drove for a layup.
Moments later, there was a pileup on a loose ball that would have resulted in C-G’s possession, but Waco was called for a technical foul. McCloud said an official told him it was because Waco was too rough while getting up, but McCloud thought Waco was just moving the Hampshire player.
The Whips made the plays in the final minutes. Nick Erickson hit two free throws, and Woods, who led Hampshire with 23 points, hit four in the last 45 seconds.
C-G guard Beau Frericks scored a game-high 27 points and hit four 3s. Frank Jakubicek added 13.
Anderson scored 12, while Erickson and J.D. Shaw each scored 10.
STAR OF THE GAME
Collin Woods, Hampshire, jr., G
Woods hit 7-of-14 field goals and was 6 of 6 from the free-throw line to lead the Whip-Purs with 23 points. He scored eight of his points in the fourth quarter to help Hampshire put the game away.
9: The 3-pointers Hampshire hit in the first half.
AND ANOTHER THING...
Justin Anderson raced down the court, took off on one foot at the key and banked in a 3-pointer to provide a fitting ending to the first half. The Whips made just about everything that half, hitting 17-of-25 field goals for 68.0 percent, and had five players make 3s.
Hampshire 75, Cary-Grove 67
Cunningham 1 2-2 4, Frericks 10 3-6 27, Rice 1 1-2 4, Waco 2 2-2 6, Jakubicek 3 7-8 13, Aulert 1 0-0 2, Weaver 1 3-4 6, West 0 0-0 0, Sowa 2 0-1 5, Szydlo 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 18-26 67.
Johnson 3 0-0 9, Milison 0 0-0 0, Erickson 2 4-5 10, Anderson 5 0-0 12, Rosa 5 0-0 11, Woods 7 6-6 23, Shaw 3 4-6 10, Anderson 0 0-0 0, Davis 0 0-0 0, Bishop 0 0-0 0. Totals: 25 17-22 75.
Cary-Grove 20 18 13 16 – 67
Hampshire 21 28 8 18 – 75
3-point goals: Cary-Grove 6 (Frericks 4, Weaver, Sowa), Hampshire 11 (Woods 3, Johnson 3, Anderson 2, Erickson 2, Rosa). Total fouls: Cary-Grove 15, Hampshire 21. Technical fouls: Waco.