It's fair to say the Hampshire boys basketball team has seen enough of Brad Knoeppel for awhile. The Crystal Lake Central senior scored 24 points and seemed to hit every critical bucket as the Tigers downed the Whip-Purs, 66-56, in a Fox Valley Conference Fox Division showdown in Hampshire Friday night.
Koeppel scored 10 points during a third-quarter surge as the Tigers took control. After Tyler Crater nailed a 3-pointer to get Hampshire to within 35-30, Koeppel answered with a 3 at the other end. Twice more Hampshire scored to get within 6 points, but each time Koeppel answered with a basket of his own.
"In the third quarter he really put us on his back," said Central coach Rich Czeslawski. "I didn't think we had a lot of flow at the start of the quarter and he really got us going."
Koeppel's explosion surprised the Whip-Purs.
"That we were not expecting," said Hampshire coach Bob Barnett.
Crater and Shane Hernandez scored 15 points apiece to lead Hampshire (17-4, 6-2). Ryan Cork added 14, including 4 3-pointers. Hernandez also grabbed 10 rebounds.
Central (19-2, 7-1), got 15 points from Corban Murphy and 11 from Jake Van Scoyoc.
Hampshire never led. The Tigers closed the first half on a 5-2 run to take a 32-23 lead into the locker room.
"They pushed the ball well, they're a good team," said Barnett. "They're fast, they run the floor well. They're big. They're tough matchups for us."
"They just came out and shot the ball well," said Crater. "They're a good team, you can't say much more than that. They got all the loose balls and a few key offensive rebounds."
Hampshire couldn't match up inside with the Tigers, whose front line measures 6-foot-7, 6-6, and 6-3. The Tigers could go to the hoop or kick it back out for 3-point attempts.
Cork helped keep Hampshire in the game early with 3 first-half 3-pointers as both Crater and Hernandez got in early foul trouble.
Crater picked up his second foul midway through the first quarter and didn't return until midway through the second. Hernandez picked up 2 quick fouls late in the first half, although he never picked up his fourth.
Jacob Tuttle gave the Whips a lift off the bench with 5 points, 3 rebounds and a couple of blocks.