SYCAMORE – Nothing was falling for the Sycamore girls basketball team in the first half against Hampshire on Saturday night, but Whip-Purs coach Eric Samuelson said he figured it was just a matter of time before Kylie Feuerbach and the Spartans righted the ship.
The Spartans shot 56% from the floor in the second half, and Feuerbach finished with 32 points, coming from behind to beat Hampshire, 55-49.
“We played good defense, but they also missed a lot of shots,” Samuelson said. “We knew the way we were going to win in the second half was with defense. And I felt we still played good defense, they just made shots. And Kylie is a ton. I’m really glad for her. She’s going to do really well at Iowa State. She’s a good player, and she showed it tonight.”
Sycamore (7-3) shot 7 of 35 in the first half, with Feuerbach – an Iowa State commit – going 3 of 14. Hampshire (7-5) led, 22-18, at the break, but a 15-5 run by the Spartans to start the third quarter put them ahead for good.
Feuerbach shot 11 of 29 in the game and 1 of 11 on 3-pointers. She also had seven rebounds and five steals, with three of those steals coming in the second quarter and two of them leading directly to layups for her.
“It was a little weird I was at 32 points because the first half was a little bit rough,” Feuerbach said. “But whenever there is those types of games where I can’t shoot, I have to make sure I drive to the basket. And the team made sure to keep driving to the basket themselves and looking for the right pass.”
Samuelson said he tasked Alyssa Cork with guarding Feuerbach and was pleased with the results.
“Just grit, man. I know that’s a bit of an overused cliché these day, but she just never quit,” Samuelson said. “Kylie would go back and forth, left and right, like she’s really good at doing, and Alyssa just kept on fighting.”
Sycamore also had their hands full with Hampshire’s NCAA Division I talent, Kelby Bannerman. The 6-foot-1 junior had 23 points, 19 rebounds and two blocks in the loss.
“She’s tough, man. She’s a bull down there,” Sycamore coach Adam Wickness said of Bannerman. “She’s got good touch, good finesse by the rim down there. There’s a reason why a lot of D-I schools want her. She’s got skill. She can step out and hit 3s; she can post you up; she’s very physical down low. I thought Evyn [Carrier] actually did a good job on her when she came in, in the few moments she did to give us a little bit of a breather.”
Samuelson said he was impressed with the way his team played, especially missing a pair of key players in Jessica Dumoulin and Veronica Walker.
“We battled. I was really proud of them,” Samuelson said. “They’re a really good basketball team. There’s a good chance we can see them again in regionals or sectionals. With a full roster, if we battle like that, I like to think we can compete.”
Feuerbach almost converted all three of her steals in the fourth into layups, but freshman Ceili Ramirez chased her down and blocked one layup attempt from behind.
“She came down out of nowhere and hunted her down,” Samuelson said. “Just the heart that my girls played with tonight, if we bring that every night, I love what could possibly happen.”