Athlete of the Week
Hampshire, sr., G
Haefling helped lead the Whip-Purs to a 3-0 week as Hampshire stayed tied atop the Fox Valley Conference standings with Dundee-Crown at 7-0.
The senior guard had 12 points on four 3s in a 41-40 win over Cary-Grove, hitting a clutch 3 late to help overtake the Trojans, and added 13 points and a pair of 3s in a 51-47 nonconference overtime win against state-ranked Burlington Central on Saturday.
During winter break, Haefling scored 20 points on four 3s in a 57-52 win over Barrington at D-C's Charger-Komaromy Classic.
Northwest Herald Power Rankings
1. Dundee-Crown (15-5): The Chargers beat Jacobs, 46-16, and Crystal Lake Central, 50-33, to stay undefeated in the FVC at 7-0. D-C wraps up the first half of the conference schedule against Hampshire on Friday at home.
2. Hampshire (18-4): The Whip-Purs finished 3-0 last week after a 1-2 skid that included a 46-39 nonconference loss to FVC co-leader D-C on Dec. 28. Hampshire has 18 wins for the third time in six seasons under coach Mike Featherly.
3. Marengo (14-5): The Indians picked up a pair of Kishwaukee River Conference victories, beating Johnsburg, 62-51, and Woodstock North, 51-37, and improving to 5-1 in conference play. Marengo trails Burlington Central (13-5, 6-0 KRC) by a game in the standings.
4. McHenry (13-8): The Warriors receive a big boost in the power rankings with the return of junior guard Ava Interrante, who scored 15 points in Tuesday's 50-37 win over Crystal Lake South. Interrante, who was averaging 17.2 points and 5.2 assists a game, was out 11 games with a broken bone in her nonshooting hand. McHenry went 6-5 over that span.
5. Marian Central (8-10): The Hurricanes had a tough showing at Boylan's Reindeer Games, going 0-4, but their résumé still includes victories against Marengo, Crystal Lake Central and McHenry.
Welcome to the club: Prairie Ridge senior guard Karly Statter became the fifth local player this season to surpass 1,000 points in her career, joining Marengo's Marissa Knobloch, Johnsburg’s Morgan Madsen, McHenry’s Izzy Gscheidle and Crystal Lake Central’s Maddie Haslow.
Statter reached the milestone with 13 points in Friday’s 38-35 loss to Huntley. Statter led the area in scoring last season at 18.4 points a game and hit 60 3s. Prairie Ridge is 9-9 and 2-5 in the FVC under first-year coach Tim Taege.
Quiet leader: Hampshire's Sarah Bowen isn't known for her boisterous presence on the court, but the senior guard has been an important part of Hampshire's success this season.
Bowen, who is one of many multisport athletes on the Whips, banged her elbow in the fourth quarter of Saturday's overtime win over Burlington Central and was forced from the game, but she came back and contributed many key plays in the victory.
Bowen missed the D-C Charger-Komaromy Classic because of a family commitment, and Featherly was happy to have one of his captains back last week.
“We missed her at the tournament tremendously," Featherly said. "It’s not even just the energy she brings defensively. It’s the intangibles. She brings a sense of calm to the floor. She’s not a very vocal leader. It’s more like, "Just follow me and watch what I do.”
Bowen, along with Haefling, will play softball next year at NAIA St. Xavier in Chicago.
Team player: Marengo's Hannah Ritter, who will play softball at NCAA Division III Wisconsin-Oshkosh next year, might not always score the most points for her team, but Indians eighth-year coach Nick Rode hasn't come across a player that affects games as much as the 5-foot-9 senior forward.
Ritter has a knack for finding her teammates in close spaces. Other times, she'll whip the ball crosscourt for a wide-open look.
"I can't say that I've coached a player that's made her teammates better on the floor (than Ritter has)," Rode said. "She's the one in the flow of a game that's always calm. I get a little bit amped, and she's like, 'No, we got this.' She's a great player and teammate. She makes everybody better, and that includes me."
Ritter's teammates also have high praise for the do-it all forward.
"We're best friends on and off the court," senior Marissa Knobloch said. "On the court, we always know what each other is thinking and doing before we do it. She can find anybody. She's a great facilitator all around."
What to watch
Hampshire at Dundee-Crown, 6 p.m. Friday: The winner of this one will be in sole possession of first place in the FVC.
McHenry at Crystal Lake Central, 7 p.m. Friday: Outside of D-C and Hampshire, the Warriors and Tigers have the best shots of competing for a conference title.
Hampshire at McHenry, 7 p.m. Monday: McHenry must keep winning for any chance of defending its FVC championship.