2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 12/9/2017 7:04 PM

Jacobs finds the touch, overcomes Hampshire

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A four-minute, hot-shooting stretch helped three-time Fox Valley Conference boys basketball champion Jacobs pull away from host Hampshire 67-53 Saturday afternoon.

Hampshire (2-5, 0-3) jumped to an 8-1 lead and was still within a point of Jacobs (5-2, 2-0) early in the second quarter until the Golden Eagles found their shooting touch.

Guard Ryan Phillips penetrated the lane and passed back to fellow senior Nik Balkcom at the top of arc for the first 3-pointer, and 6-foot-6 senior guard Kameron Mack followed with back-to-back 3s to launch a game-changing 18-1 run.

"We just started hitting shots," Balkcom said. "Coach told us hitting shots is contagious. Kam started it. He missed his first two, then he hit that one and that kind of got us going and we picked it up on defense. That helped us the rest of the way."

Jacobs made only 4 of 13 first-quarter shots but sank 8 of 9 second-quarter tries, including 6 of 7 from 3-point range.

"It's basketball. You have to make shots," Jacobs coach Jimmy Roberts said. "Put the ball in the basket. That's one thing that's a tribute to our kids and their experiences: down 8-1 there's no panic, just a settling in. (Hampshire) came out hot but it's a whole game. We settled down and made some shots. We've talked about that -- somebody take the heat off us, somebody step up and make a shot. Then everybody else will make some shots. And that's just how it went."

Hampshire experienced a similar lapse a week earlier in a 20-point loss that began a 3-game losing streak.

"It was the same thing against Dundee-Crown, a four-minute stretch where we get outplayed, then the other three and a half quarters of the game it's a dogfight," Hampshire coach Ben Whitehouse said. "We have to keep putting ourselves in those situations to learn. We had a good prep and kids that want to compete. We want to take that next step. Now, it's a matter of us playing composed when we get those opportunities."

Jacobs led 41-27 at halftime and 52-42 through three quarters.

Guard Ajani Rodriguez led all scorers with a career-best 19-point performance. The 5-foot-9 senior scored the first 2 buckets of the fourth quarter to ignite an 8-0 run.

"He's a rascal out there," Balkcom said of Rodriguez, a vocal team captain known for his defense. Rodriguez also made 2 steals.

"I'm a little gnat on defense, always getting deflections and bringing defensive intensity," he said.

Phillips contributed 17 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Mack finished with 11 points and 2 steals and Balkcom had 10 points, 4 assists and 2 steals for Jacobs, which hosts Huntley on Wednesday.

Hampshire senior guard Nathan Cork scored 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting and junior guard J.D. Shaw had 15 points. The Whip-Purs return to action Wednesday at Crystal Lake Central.

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