The road was friendly to the Hampshire boys basketball team once again Wednesday.
Playing their eighth straight game away from home, the Whip-Purs gained separation from Johnsburg with a 19-5 run that bridged the first and second quarters and used a team effort to maintain their lead throughout an eventual 49-40 victory in the Fox Division of the Fox Valley Conference.
"It was a nice win on the road," said Hampshire coach Bob Barnett, whose team won for the sixth time during its 8-game sojourn. "We've been on the road forever."
The Johnsburg rims took some getting used to for the Whips, who have not played a home game since Dec. 18. They missed 6 layups in the first quarter, but soon began denting the scoreboard with regularity, spurred by senior guards Ryan Cork and Tyler Crater.
Cork (14 points) made 3 steals during the push, scoring twice himself on runouts and dishing once to Crater, who scored 13 of his game-high 18 points during the surge.
Crater capped the run with consecutive 3-pointers, the second of which staked Hampshire (14-3, 3-1) to a 25-13 lead with 5:25 left in the second quarter. He sank 4 straight attempts to ignite the offense, including three 3-point attempts.
"I haven't been shooting well the past couple of games," Crater said, "but I was just able to run the floor and get easy transition looks, and they were wide open. Thank God I hit them."
Johnsburg (7-10, 1-3) used a 6-0 run late in the third quarter to draw within 4 points, fueled by jumpers from Collin Ridout, Steve Dixon and Marcus Huemann. However, Cork put back his own miss just before the buzzer to send the Whips to the fourth quarter with a 38-32 lead.
Cork immediately restored Hampshire's 10-point cushion by opening the final period with a tough bank shot against a double team and a coast-to-coast drive to the bucket highlighted by a spin move.
The guard duo didn't do it alone. Senior center Shane Hernandez scored 6 of his 9 points in the second half and finished with 13 rebounds. Senior forward Michael Dumoulin did the dirty work. His consecutive putbacks in the third quarter held the Skyhawks at bay.
"Every game is different," said Dumoulin, who notched 6 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 assists. "Somebody has to step up every day. It was just my turn today."
Barnett lauded his team's defense, particularly the way Dumoulin guarded 6-foot-5 Mike Conroy (1 point) and senior guard Brendan Waterworth's work against 5-11 guard Kevin Dombrowski (7 points). The Skyhawks shot 18 of 46 from the field (39.1 percent) and 2 of 16 from 3-point range."
"I guess we just didn't get looks," Johnsburg coach Mike Toussaint said. "We tried with back to the basket to get kick outs. They defended it well. We didn't get a pass."
Hampshire finally returns home this Saturday for a FVC Fox title against Grayslake Central at 7 p.m.