After missing Palatine's last game while playing in a soccer tournament in North Carolina, Kacie Filian came off the bench for the Pirates' nonconference contest in Hampshire Tuesday night.
Filian, who is headed to St. Bonaventure for soccer, provided Palatine a spark as a reserve. With both teams struggling to score in the first half, Filian made a pair of spin moves down the lane for baskets in the second quarter to help the Pirates reach halftime tied at 17.
Filian added 5 more points in the second half to finish with 9, part of a balanced Palatine attack in a 42-34 victory that keeps the Pirates (7-0) unbeaten heading into Friday's battle with Fremd.
"It felt really weird," Filian said of her first game not starting since early in her junior season. "I am not used to it. I felt like I had to bring the energy when I came in. A lot of the girls were winded when I came in so it was nice to take advantage. Getting off the bench you get a different perspective of the game, you get to see what's working on offense and you can communicate better with the girls."
Hampshire (3-5) made life difficult for Palatine early, holding the Pirates to 7 of 20 shooting in the first half. The Whip-Purs took the biggest lead of the half at 12-9 on a putback basket by freshman Kelby Bannerman.
After 11 lead changes and 3 ties in the back-and-forth first half, Palatine went ahead to stay 20-18 early in the third quarter on Kendra Lindell's 3-pointer.
Filian scored on a second-chance bucket and later converted while being fouled as the Pirates opened a 30-24 lead after three quarters.
"We are glad to have her back," Palatine coach Mark Johnson said. "She came off the bench and did a great job. She didn't come off the floor much after that. She really runs the show for us out there."
The Whip-Purs pulled as close as 30-26 in the fourth quarter on two free throws from Lauren Herrmann, who paced both teams with 15 points.
But on a night Hampshire turned the ball over 21 times and made just 10 of 32 shots from the field, the Whip-Purs didn't have enough firepower to threaten Palatine down the stretch.
"The story of the season so far for us is the little things," Hampshire coach Mike Featherly said. "We're having a hard time doing the little things correctly. Breakdowns defensively, offensively turnovers that are kind of unforced. The little things keep adding up and it's hard to win."
Sarah Bowen pulled down 8 rebounds for the Whip-Purs, who have lost 3 games by a combined 5 points. They will try to rebound Friday against Huntley.
"Palatine is a solid team," said Featherly, a 1998 Palatine graduate. "They all play well together. I thought our girls responded well. We're just young right now. They keep working hard."
Johnson liked Sydney Rzepka's defense on Bannerman (5 points), and another steady night from his offense. Lindell led with 10 points, Rzepka had 8 points and 8 rebounds, and Jenny Myslinski chipped in 7 points.
"I thought Sydney Rzepka played unbelievably on her (Bannerman). She was in perfect position almost all night long," Johnson said.
"They are unselfish. They are seniors who have been through everything together. It is so fun to watch because we never know who is going to put the ball in the basket. It's someone different every night. They totally share the ball, no egos."