Hampshire's Cork popped in the third quarter of a 65-56 win over Dundee-Crown in the fifth-place game of the Sycamore Thanksgiving Tournament Saturday.
Though Ryan Cork had 6 points, 4 rebounds and an assist by halftime and his team held an 8-point lead, Hampshire's senior captain felt he had played a substandard two quarters and needed to contribute more in the second half. What happened next was impressive.
The 6-foot-2 guard drained a 3-pointer to open the third quarter. It was the first of four straight 3-pointers he sank without a miss. His first 3-pointer came from two steps beyond the arc. Cork then crept back a step or two on each ensuing 3-point shot, well into NBA range, until he finally missed his fifth attempt, which was launched with one foot on the volleyball line. He considers his range to be "from the volleyball line in."
"That is what you call feelin' it," Hampshire coach Bob Barnett said. "I just prefer he takes two dribbles over half court before he shoots instead of one. After that last one I had to pull in the reins a little bit because he was pushing it, but he can shoot it from out there."
Cork missed all 4 of his 3-point attempts in the first half, but the third quarter belonged to him. Not only did he strike from long range, he dominated the quarter overall by making 2 steals and dishing 2 assists, including a pretty feed to senior Matt Bridges that he converted for a 40-25 lead with 2:25 left in the third.
"At halftime I only had 6 points so I felt I needed to step it up for my team," Cork said. "I was able to score a lot in the third quarter because my teammates kept finding me and I was hot."
Cork finished with 23 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 assists but he had help. Bridges scored 14 points and grabbed 5 rebounds and Ajiri Oghale scored 9 points, including 6 in the first quarter as Hampshire jumped to a 14-7 lead.
"Cork was completely unconscious," Dundee-Crown coach Lance Huber said. "And we had no answer for Bridges on the boards."
Defending tournament champion Dundee-Crown (1-3) stayed within 46-34 heading to the final period, thanks to a 3-pointer by Cordero Parson that beat the third-quarter buzzer. Parson led the Chargers with 19 points, fueled by 3-of-6 shooting from 3-point range.
A bucket by Hampshire freshman Brennen Woods gave the Whip-Purs a 16-point lead with 5:05 remaining. The Chargers trimmed the deficit to 8 three times, the last on a putback by Sam Buckley with 40.5 seconds to play, but the Whip-Purs sank 5-of-6 free throws in the final minute.
"Except for the last 10 minutes of the game, the intensity level we played with was not enough to compete at the varsity level," Huber said.
Hampshire won its final 2 games of the tournament to finish 2-2 in fifth place.
"We were OK," Barnett said of Hampshire's performance through 4 games. "We have a lot of work to do in some areas, and we'll learn. I some good things and some not-so-good things. But they're very coachable and these are correctable mistakes."
Kiwaun Seals finished with 11 points, Buckley had 10 points and 6 rebounds and 6-foot-4 senior Nick Munson added 9 points on three 3-pointers for Dundee-Crown.