Hampshire went 1-3 and took 12th out of 16 teams at Dundee-Crown's Charger Komaromy Classic, but first-year coach Eric Samuelson isn't necessarily worried about wins and losses at this point in the season.
"This is one of the top girls basketball tournaments in the state," Samuelson said. "Montini is loaded, and this one is absolutely loaded. Our goal here is to help us get ready for the Fox Valley Conference. The Fox Valley is extremely physical and extremely well coached. It comes down to, sometimes, the tougher team wins."
The Whip-Purs (9-8) are the defending FVC champs and trailed conference leader Dundee-Crown by a game entering Tuesday's action. Despite graduating five seniors, including three starters, the Whips have high expectations for the rest of the season.
A big test awaits Hampshire when it meets Burlington Central for the first time this year at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
"As this team gets more mature, hopefully we’re getting tougher," Samuelson said. "When you play a lot of teams in the Fox Valley, there’s a lot of bodies hitting the floor. It’s just a very physical style of basketball. I think this is good for us, win or lose, preparing us going forward."
Senior Roni Walker, a 5-foot-9 forward, was voted captain and has emerged as one of the team's top defenders this season.
"I just can’t say enough good things about Roni," Samuelson said. "She’s a soccer player, and she just keeps on defending the best player every game."
Approaching a milestone: Huntley coach Steve Raethz is two wins away from No. 350. The Red Raiders' coach is 348-259 in 20-plus years at the school. Raethz started coaching at Huntley in 1999 and has led the Raiders to nine regional and three sectional titles.
Huntley went 26-8 and finished fourth in the Class 4A state tournament in 2012-13. The Raiders were 111-21 in a four-year period from 2013 to 2016, winning a program-record 30 games in 2015-16.
McHenry coach Rob Niemic recently notched his 100th career win and is 101-68 in five-plus seasons.
Rockets record: Richmond-Burton senior guard Peyton Bannon set a single-game scoring record in R-B's 81-60 loss to Winnebago over the weekend.
Bannon, who is an NCAA Division I Wisconsin commit for softball, poured in 40 points, breaking Erin Thomas' record of 32 in 2012. Thomas is now in her second year as Johnsburg's girls basketball coach. Bannon sank five 3-pointers, hit 7 of 7 free throws, and scored 16 in the fourth quarter.
In the same game, Winnebago sophomore Miyah Brown scored 46 points to break the Indians' single-game scoring record of 42.
So far, so good: Burlington Central, which was a co-champion of the Kishwaukee River Conference with Marengo a year ago, has had a strong start to its Fox Valley Conference debut.
The Rockets are 5-1 in the FVC, with its only loss to conference leader Dundee-Crown. Burlington is hoping the competition of the FVC will help them once the postseason rolls around.
"It's a lot of fun. I think we needed this kind of competition going into regionals," senior guard Lily Moretti said. "At the end of the year, we sometimes struggle with the intensity of the playoffs. I like it."
NORTHWEST HERALD POWER RANKINGS
1. Dundee-Crown (11-2): The Chargers placed seventh at D-C’s Charger Komaromy Classic with a 51-49 win over New Trier, getting a game-winning layup from senior Payton Schmidt as time expired to end a two-game skid. Alyssa Crenshaw was named to the all-tournament team.
2. McHenry (15-3): The Warriors lost to Burlington Central, 61-49, in the championship of Boylan’s Reindeer Games. Junior Ashley Wachter made six 3-pointers for 18 points. Ava Interrante and Katie Beyer were named to the all-tournament team.
3. Hampshire (9-8): The Whip-Purs were 1-3 at the Charger Komaromy Classic, losing to Buffalo Grove in their last game for 12th place. Junior Kelby Bannerman passed 1,000 career points and was named to the all-tournament team.
4. Huntley (7-8): The Red Raiders went 1-3 at Montini’s Christmas Tournament, beating Oak Park-River Forest, 46-32, in last tournament game. Huntley played Burlington Central tough, but lost, 45-38, in their FVC game Saturday.
5. Woodstock North (10-6): The Thunder make their first appearance in the power rankings after beating Crystal Lake South, 35-31, Saturday. Abby Hartmann hit 14 of 17 free throws in the winning effort, scoring 18 points. North is 5-2 over its past seven games.
WHAT TO WATCH
Burlington Central at Hampshire, 6 p.m. Wednesday: The Whip-Purs and Rockets both have a loss in the FVC, but Burlington has played one more game. Hampshire is the defending FVC champion.
Woodstock North at Woodstock, 7 p.m. Friday: The Thunder and Blue Streaks are both 2-0 in the Kishwaukee River Conference and meet for the first of two-regular season games.
McHenry at Burlington Central, 7 p.m. Friday: The Warriors trail the Rockets by a game in the loss column.