Hampshire's toughness makes difference vs. Cary-Grove
Hampshire, already outsized at most every position, was missing big man Adam Ugochukwu, a 6-foot-3 forward, committed 18 turnovers and had virtually no inside game.
But guard Nick Louis, one of four Whip-Purs' starters who is shorter than 6-feet, talked about what they did have.
"A big thing about us is our grit," Louis said. "One of our big three things is grit. We have to find a way and size won't usually be on our side, we have a lot of short kids. But if we have big heart, that's what matters."
The Whips hit their 3-pointers, outrebounded Cary-Grove by a large margin and were almost perfect at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter to beat the Trojans, 44-36, in their Fox Valley Conference boys basketball game Tuesday at Elroy Fitzgerald Gymnasium.
"We got outtoughed tonight," C-G coach Adam McCloud said. "They played tougher than we did. We got outtoughed. Simple as that."
Hampshire (10-12, 7-4) made only three 2-point baskets the entire game, but hit eight 3s and then finished off the Trojans (9-12, 3-7) with 12 of 14 free-throw shooting in the fourth quarter.
Sam Ptak hit four 3s, all from the left corner against C-G's 1-3-1 zone, and led the Whips with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Hampshire won the rebound battle, 27-16.
"Our motto is 'Find a Way' and we found a way by hustling all over the floor, playing defense, getting rebounds when we could, limiting their second-chance opportunities and trying our best to knock down our shots," Ptak said.
The Whips attempted only 25 field goals for the game. Whips coach Mike Featherly said they have not always shot free throws well. But when the game was on the line, Kevin Dela Paz made four straight and Louis and Joey Costabile each made a pair.
"In the games we've lost, our free-throw percentage hasn't been good and we struggled with turnovers," Featherly said. "It was nice to see that we took care of the ball better in the second half."
Louis and Costabile scored eight each for the Whips, Dela Paz added seven. Mike Clarke led C-G with 11.
"We had a lot of open looks," said McCloud, whose team shot 14 of 42 (33%) from the field. "We had a lot of plays inside and we didn't finish and we didn't rebound well. Defensively is not how we lost the game. We didn't let them do anything inside. Offensively we have to make shots."