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Playing in its final game in the Big Northern Conference, Hampshire's girls basketball team capped off another undefeated conference season Tuesday night, hanging on to beat runner-up Richmond-Burton 60-52 at Hampshire.
The Whip-Purs, who move to the Fox Valley Conference's Fox Division next season, won their 39th straight Big Northern East game and claimed their fourth straight conference championship. The last team to beat Hampshire in a BN-East contest was Burlington Central in 2007.
"We knew we'd have to come out and play with our hears tonight and that's what we did," said Hampshire senior Alex Dumoulin, who had 20 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals.
Richmond-Burton (15-8, 8-2) gave the Whips the game Hampshire expected the Rockets to and even though Hampshire had a 10-point lead going into the fourth quarter, the Whips (24-2, 10-0) couldn't salt the game away until the final 3 minutes, when they outscored Richmond 8-2.
"Richmond's definitely a good team with good guards and good posts," said Dumoulin.
"You look at the scoreboard and they just don't go away," said Whips coach Ed Haugens. "You get a lead and all of a sudden they're back in it."
After a 17-17 first-quarter tie, Hampshire surged out to a 6-point lead midway through the second quarter before settling on a 32-29 halftime lead after Richmond's Nikki Zaobidny (15 points) converted a three-point play with 25 seconds left in the half.
"I didn't think we took advantage of the fact they had six fouls at the end of the first quarter," said Haugens, whose team went to the free-throw line just twice in the second quarter. "We needed to attack the basket more and get to the line."
Again in the third quarter, Hampshire extended its lead, taking a 48-38 advantage into the fourth after Karla Vietinghoff (18 points, 7 rebounds) came up with a steal and a layup with 8 seconds left in the third.
But Richmond, trailing 52-44 after another Vietinghoff basket with 6:10 left in the game, put together a 6-0 run and inched to within 2, 52-50, after 2 free throws by Erin Thomas with 4:02 left.
But a minute later Hampshire seized the momentum for a final time when Vietinghoff scored on a fast break and then again on an offensive rebound to give the Whips a 56-50 lead with 2:52 left. Hampshire, which had just 12 turnovers in the game and shot 26 of 50, controlled the basketball from there on out and iced the game on a basket by Michelle Dumoulin and free throws from Alex Dumoulin and Grace Jakubowski, who had 16 points, 4 assists and 3 steals.
"As a point guard you always want to be a threat," said Jakubowski of her increased scoring as of late. "We're just working as a team and being a family out there."
The Whips play Woodstock North Thursday in their final preparation for the Class 3A postseason, which begins next week.