The Hampshire girls basketball team started slowly and didn't shoot well throughout the game Saturday afternoon.
But the Whip-Purs stepped up their defense and dominated the boards to beat Willows Academy, 52-37, in the championship game of the Elgin Academy Thanksgiving Tournament.
"I thought there was a lid of those rims because we couldn't make a shot," Hampshire coach Mike Featherly said. "We kept getting to the glass. It helps when you control the boards. Hopefully we don't have as many rebounds because we're making shots. If we can't make them, we might as well get another chance at them."
The Whip-Purs (3-1) shot just 35 percent (20-for-57) from the floor, but grabbed 60 rebounds. Emma Benoit had a game-high 14 boards for Hampshire. Freshman Peyton DeChant added 11.
Willows led 10-2 in the first quarter as the Whip-Purs were just 1-for-7 with 4 turnovers in the first 3 ½ minutes. The Eagles led 14-7 after the first quarter and were even with Hampshire on the boards, 11-11.
"That was the thing that was wrong in the first quarter. We weren't blocking out and getting the boards," said Benoit, a sophomore.
The Whip-Purs trailed 18-11 with 4 minutes remaining in the first half before holding the Eagles scoreless the rest of the half. DeChant scored 6 of her team-high 20 points to end the quarter as Hampshire took a 19-18 lead at halftime.
Benoit scored 10 of her 15 points in the third quarter as Hampshire took a 33-30 lead into the fourth. DeChant and Becky Dumoulin combined for 14 points in the fourth as the Whip-Purs ran away in the end.
Willows shot just 27 percent (13-for-55).
Becky Dumoulin finished with 6 points and 9 rebounds for Hampshire, while Nikki Dumoulin had 6 points and 8 rebounds.
Brigid Walsh scored a game-high 20 points for Willows.
Elgin 55, Alden-Hebron 21: In the third-place game, Elgin held Alden-Hebron without a field goal until 2:43 remained in the third quarter and to just four in the game in a 55-21 rout.
Melanie Berg led the Maroons (2-2) with 18 points. Maggie Powers and Jess Ramirez each added 7.
"I'm happy we have scored over 50 points in three of our first four games," Elgin coach Dr. Nick Bumbales said. "I don't know if we had three games over 50 last year.
"We played very good defense today."
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