HAMPSHIRE – Crystal Lake South appeared to have things going its way in the third quarter.
The Gators made shots, got to the free-throw line frequently and wiped out Hampshire’s five-point halftime lead.
But the Whip-Purs did not waver. As Hampshire coach Ben Whitehouse said, “It’s just a different vibe (this year).”
Forward J.D. Shaw, who came off the bench to score 16 points, was not overly concerned.
“We knew they were going to come out strong in the second half, but we came back out and just kept our composure,” Shaw said. “Even when we were down, we knew we were going to come back up and sustain the lead.”
Hampshire opened the fourth quarter with a decisive run, pounded the boards and held off South, 61-55, in their Fox Valley Conference game Wednesday night. It was the third consecutive victory for the Whips (3-3, 2-0 FVC), who have doubled their conference win total from last season.
“We just played with confidence,” said guard Kyle Johnson, who scored 11 points and hit three 3-pointers. “Last year players struggled with that. But now we all have experience and we have confidence and it helps us with our shots and everything.”
South (5-2, 1-1) took a 46-43 lead into the fourth quarter sparked by Tyler Miller’s nine-point third quarter. Miller hit four 3s in the game and finished with 20 points.
The Whips opened the fourth with two baskets from Jeremy Rosa Jr., then a 3 from Jackson Milison and a 3 from Johnson.
Hampshire took the biggest lead of the game, 55-48, with 3:22 remaining. The Gators could not get closer than four points the rest of the way.
“We didn’t put our heads down,” Whitehouse said. “We knew we could get stops and beat this team. We had to get stops and we hunkered down defensively, executed our switches and did a great job controlling the glass.”
Hampshire held a 38-19 rebounding edge for the game, and a 12-3 advantage in the fourth quarter.
“We were in a good spot,” Gators coach Matt LePage said of the third quarter. “We had some breakdowns (in the fourth) and they make you pay. We showed some toughness to battle back and get the lead, then it left in the fourth. We leave them open in their home building and they’re going to make it.”
Shaw hit four 3s to lead the Whips and Milison scored 11 points and hit two 3s. Ben Geske and Matt Reall each scored 10 for South.
Johnson was happy to see things trending in the right direction for Hampshire.
"We’re just looking to win games and have fun while doing it," Johnson said. "With us winning two games, doubling what we had last year (in conference) and we want to keep the (wins) coming."
STAR OF THE GAME
J.D. Shaw, Hampshire, sr., F
Shaw came off the bench to lead the Whip-Purs with 16 points and hit four 3-pointers. He also tied for the team lead with six rebounds.
7: Hampshire’s 55-48 lead with 3:22 remaining in the fourth quarter was the largest lead for either team in the game.
AND ANOTHER THING...
After six games, Hampshire is within two of its win total from last season when the Whips were 5-24.
Hampshire 61, Crystal Lake South 55
CL SOUTH (55): Geske 3 2-2 10, Fischer 2 0-0 4, Reall 3 2-3 10, Miller 6 4-5 20, Haskin 3 0-2 6, Lawson 0 0-0 0, Jewson 2 2-3 6, Wolek 0 0-0 0, Gorken 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19 10-16 55.
HAMPSHIRE (61): Johnson 4 0-0 11, Woods 4 1-2 9, J. Anderson 2 1-3 6, Rosa 2 0-1 4, Erickson 1 1-2 3, Shaw 5 2-2 16, B. Anderson 0 0-0 0, Milison 4 1-2 11, Lazar 0 1-2 1, Davis 0 0-0 0, Bishop 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22 7-14 61.
CL South 14 14 18 9 – 55
Hampshire 16 17 10 18 – 61
3-point goals: CL South 7 (Miller 4, Geske 2, Reall), Hampshire 10 (Shaw 4, Johnson 3, Milison 2, J. Anderson). Total fouls: CL South 17, Hampshire 16. Technichal fouls: Woods.