Tyler Crater has really worked on diversifying his game this year and it's paying off. The rest of the Hampshire Whip-Purs don't look too bad, either.
Crater scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Hampshire past Grayslake Central, 62-39, in Fox Valley Conference Fox Division boys basketball action in Hampshire Friday night.
Ryan Cork had 13 points and 5 assists, sophomore Matthew Bridges added 12 points and 6 rebounds, and Shane Hernandez finished with 8 points for Hampshire, which has won 7 straight since a season-opening loss to Rockford Lutheran.
Danny Reed led Grayslake Central (1-7) with 10 points. Charlie Anderson added 7 points off the bench.
"Last year I shot a lot more 3s because of the team identity we had," said Crater, the Hampshire senior. "This year we're starting to attack more and use the pullup jumper a little more."
Crater scored 12 points in the first half as the Whips raced out to a 37-15 lead. They handled the Rams' full-court pressure easily and created some fastbreak opportunities as a result.
"That's fun basketball, especially early in the season when you're really trying to put things together as a team and see what your identity is," Crater said.
Hampshire was clicking on all cylinders for much of the game. The Whip-Purs forced 12 first-half turnovers in building the big lead. They shot 9-for-11 in the second quarter on the way to shooting 51 percent for the game. And, with Crater and Bridges leading the way, they outrebounded the visitors, 31-19.
"They've got great leadership," said Grayslake Central coach Brian Moe. "With Crater, Hernandez, and (Cork), they've got three great players. They took it to us and ran their stuff better than we did. They executed a lot better than we did."
That makes at least two Whip-Purs' fans.
"I really like this team," said Hampshire coach Bob Barnett. "I cannot give (Crater) enough credit about the improvement, not only in his game, but in his psyche from last year to this year. It's just so noticeable."