CARPENTERSVILLE – When Hampshire's Kelby Bannerman, a 6-foot-1 sophomore and the team's leading scorer, left Friday's Fox Valley Conference game against Dundee-Crown with her third foul in the first quarter, the Whip-Purs led by two points.
When she re-entered in the third quarter more than 11 minutes of game time later, the Whip-Purs had built their lead to seven.
Hampshire, which got contributions from just about everyone, added on and came away with a 40-30 win against D-C, taking over sole possession of first place and ending the first half of the FVC schedule without a conference loss.
Ally Cermak led the Whips (19-4, 8-0 FVC) with nine points, including six in the fourth quarter and making 4 of 4 free throws. Bannerman tossed in seven, and Katie Del Re and Jessie Heine had five points apiece. Morgan Haefling had a team-best four assists.
Eight players scored in the victory for Hampshire. Roni Walker, who got more playing time in absence of Bannerman, had four points, two assists and five rebounds off the bench. The junior was prepared to "be there for anyone no matter what."
"Even if I'm not a top scorer like [Bannerman], I know I can help the team in other ways by putting in the effort, and proving I deserve to have time on the court," Walker said. "When one person is down, we're all there to pick each other up."
Walker wasn't the only player stepping up for her team. Heine, a senior, sank one of three 3-pointers for the Whips and had two assists and three steals off the bench.
"I thought everyone played really poised tonight," Hampshire coach Mike Featherly said. "Girls like Jessie Heine stepped up huge for us. Little things like getting steals. She's one of those girls that never complains about playing time. She just keeps working."
Hampshire's man-to-man defense held the Chargers to two points in the second quarter as the Whips took a 13-8 lead into halftime. Both teams struggled offensively in the first half, with Hampshire shooting 25 percent (4 of 16) and D-C at 36.4 percent (4 of 11).
Both teams got going on offense after halftime, with the Whips building their biggest lead, 26-14, on a 3 by Jessie Dumoulin, another key play off the bench.
Hampshire, which shot 61.9 percent (13 of 21) from the free-throw line, made 8 of 10 free throws in the fourth to hold off D-C.
Guards Payton Schmidt and Katelyn Skibinski both had a game-leading 10 points, Alyssa Crenshaw had six points and five rebounds, and Kendall Kieltyka had four points for all of the Chargers' scoring.
D-C coach Sarah Miller never felt like her team got in a rhythm offensively.
"I don't think we ever ran our offense," Miller said. "We have a lot of respect for [Hampshire], and we knew we were going up against a defensive team just like us. ... We didn't execute. We rushed our offense, and I felt like our shot selection was very poor."
STAR OF THE GAME
Ally Cermak, Hampshire, sr., G
Cermak scored six of her team-high nine points in the fourth quarter, sinking all four of her free throws to help Hampshire hold off D-C.
8: Hampshire has won its first eight conference games.
AND ANOTHER THING …
Hampshire hosts D-C in the regular-season finale for both teams on Feb. 8. After Friday, the Whip-Purs (19-4, 8-0) lead the Chargers (15-6, 7-1) by a game in the Fox Valley Conference standings.
Hampshire 40, Dundee-Crown 30
HAMPSHIRE (40): Cermak 2 4-4 9, Haefling 0 3-5 3, Bowen 2 0-0 4, Del Re 1 3-5 5, Bannerman 3 1-3 7, Walker 2 0-1 4, Heine 1 2-2 5, Dumoulin 1 0-0 3, Lambert 0 0-1 0, Johnson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 12 13-21 40.
DUNDEE-CROWN (30): Schmidt 4 2-2 10, Skibinski 5 0-2 10, Kieltyka 2 0-0 4, Boado 0 0-0 0, Crenshaw 3 0-1 6, M. Gotter 0 0-0 0, Azar 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 2-5 30.
Hampshire 8 5 13 14 – 40
Dundee-Crown 6 2 10 12 – 30
3-point goals: Hampshire 3 (Cermak, Heine, Dumoulin). Total fouls: Hampshire 12, Dundee-Crown 22.