HAMPSHIRE – Hampshire's Morgan Haefling went into halftime against Dundee-Crown without any points and only one shot attempt.
In the locker room, Whip-Purs coach Mike Featherly implored the guard to be more active with the Fox Valley Conference title on the line.
The 5-foot-7 senior took those words to heart, scoring seven of her team's 10 points in the third quarter and sinking all three of her shot attempts, including two 3-pointers, in the second half as the Whip-Purs pulled away for a 43-38 victory to claim the FVC championship outright.
Hampshire (26-5, 15-1) and D-C (22-8, 14-2) both had one loss in FVC play entering the regular season finale. The FVC title is the third since 2015 for the Whips but the first outright.
“It feels awesome," Haefling said of winning the FVC title. "We’ve been working hard for this all season. And we’ve been working for this exact moment. In the second half, I was looking to be more aggressive. I wasn’t helping out the team as much as I wanted to in the first half, and I really wanted to help my teammates."
Hampshire led, 19-18, at half and pushed its lead to 26-22 with 3:40 left in the third quarter on Haefling's first 3. She scored her team's first seven points of the third and finished with 12.
One of the team's most accurate shooters, Featherly was happy to see her take advantage of some open looks.
"She’s got the green light to shoot," Featherly said. "She can get a little timid sometimes, but at halftime, we said, “You’ve got to shoot.’ She attacked the rim well, I thought, and just hit some really important shots for us."
Ally Cermak, a 5-foot-3 senior, led the Whips with a game-high 16 points and three 3s. She was 5-of-5 shooting from the free-throw line.
A large crowd for both sides added to the game's intensity.
"Of course there are going to be nerves, but we always stick together," said Cermak, one of five seniors. "It was really exciting. There was a lot of noise tonight, but you have to block it out and stick to the fundamentals."
D-C took a 31-29 lead with 5:30 left in the fourth quarter on a Gianine Boado 3-pointer from the corner. Haefling answered less than a minute later with her second 3, for a 32-31 lead. D-C took its last lead, 33-32, on a Katelyn Skibinski free throw with 3:58 left.
Hampshire went on a 7-0 run from there, including a three-point play from Cermak.
The Chargers finished just 9 of 20 from the free-throw line, missing 10 in the fourth quarter.
"We know we didn’t produce like we needed to, and we’re not hanging our heads," D-C coach Sarah Miller said. "The second season starts now. We know we have to come out better and cleaner. I don’t think this game gives us any lack of confidence going into the postseason. We'll get ready for the next one. I’m proud for how they fought and giving themselves the opportunity."
Alyssa Crenshaw had 12 points and eight rebounds, and Boado tossed in 10 points for D-C. Sarah Bowen had eight points and seven rebounds for the Whips.
STAR OF THE GAME
Morgan Haefling, Hampshire, sr., G
Haefling scored all 12 of her points after halftime, hitting two 3s and finishing 4 for 4 from the free-throw line.
3: Hampshire has three FVC titles since 2015
AND ANOTHER THING …
The last two Fox Valley Conference champions have gone 15-1 in conference play.
Hampshire 43, Dundee-Crown 38
DUNDEE-CROWN (38): Crenshaw 4 4-6 12, Boado 3 3-7 10, Schmidt 1 1-5 3, Skibinski 2 1-2 5, Kieltyka 2 0-0 4, Deegan 2 0-0 4. Totals: 14 9-20 38.
HAMPSHIRE (43): Cermak 4 5-5 16, Haefling 3 4-4 12, Del Re 1 0-1 3, Bowen 3 4-8 8, Walker 2 0-0 4. Totals: 13 13-18 43.
Dundee-Crown 9 9 8 12 – 38
Hampshire 6 13 10 14 – 43
3-point goals: Dundee-Crown 1 (Boado), Hampshire 6 (Cermak 3, Haefling 2, Del Re). Total fouls: Dundee-Crown 20, Hampshire 15.