Hampshire stymies Dundee-Crown to take FVC lead
The last thing Hampshire needed in its showdown for the Fox Valley Conference lead at Dundee-Crown Friday was to see leading scorer Kelby Bannerman head to the bench with three fouls in the first quarter.
But it takes a team effort to win a conference championship, and that's just what the Whip-Purs delivered Friday.
Hampshire held Dundee-Crown to 2 points in the second quarter to take a 13-8 halftime lead. Both offenses picked up slightly in the second half but the Whip-Purs never let go of the lead in a 40-30 victory.
"it was a really good win and we played as a team today so that was good to see," Hampshire senior guard Ally Cermak said. "I think we really stuck together and picked each other up when things were getting rough."
While the Whip-Purs (19-4, 8-0) still have a long way to go for that conference title, they head to the second half of the schedule with a 1-game lead over Dundee-Crown (15-6, 7-1).
The Whip-Purs also reversed a 46-39 loss to Dundee-Crown at the Chargers' Christmas tournament. They played without starting forward Sarah Bowen that game and the entire tournament.
"We can celebrate until 9 or 10 and then tomorrow back to work and we've got to get ready for McHenry," Hampshire coach Mike Featherly said. "The girls have done a nice job putting themselves in position."
Among the players stepping up for Whips were a pair of reserves. Roni Walker entered for Bannerman and contributed 4 points and 4 rebounds.
Jessie Henie also played well off the bench with 5 points and 3 steals.
"I just wanted to play for my team," Walker said. "Even if I wasn't a top scorer like her (Bannerman) I knew I could help the team in other ways. Even when one person is down we are all there to pick each other up. We knew we had to be mentally strong.
"It's exciting seeing our team grow. There's definitely an improvement in teamwork. We're all together as one."
The Chargers committed 13 turnovers in the first half and 18 in the game. They made just 10 of their 31 shots from the field including missing all six 3-point attempts; Hampshire knocked down 3 of its 7 from beyond the arc.
The Chargers also were unable to capitalize with Bannerman out. The sophomore picked up her second foul with 3:35 left in the first quarter. Featherly gambled and put her back in for the final offensive possession of the first quarter only to see Bannerman whistled for an offensive foul.
She sat out the entire second quarter and first three minutes of the third, and Hampshire extended its lead from 8-6 to 19-12 over that stretch.
"We didn't take advantage when we needed to take advantage plain and simple," Chargers coach Sarah Miller said. "We had low percentage looks in my eyes. We got Bannerman in foul trouble and then scored 2 points. I really do blame it on our shot selection."
The Whip-Purs took their biggest lead at 26-14 on Jessica Dumoulin's 3-pointer late in the third quarter.
The Chargers rallied in the fourth on Payton Schmidt's layup and a pair of inside baskets from Alyssa Crenshaw, the second making it 29-24 with four minutes remaining.
Dundee-Crown never got closer as Cermak scored on a drive and made four straight free throws. Featherly was pleased with his team's transition defense taking away most of the Chargers' fastbreak opportunities.
"I thought everyone played really poised tonight," Featherly said. "Jessie Heine stepped up huge for us. It's nice having Sarah Bowen back too. It's good to see everyone step up. Dfensively we can do some things. We're sound fundamentally. That was a fun team win."
Cermak led Hampshire with 9 points and Bannerman had 7. Schmidt and Skibinski both tallied 10 for the Chargers, who only had four players score -- Hampshire had eight.
Kendall Kieltyka grabbed 8 rebounds for the Chargers.
"I don't question my team's heart, I know they wanted it, it's just we didn't execute," Miller said. "Lot of respect for Hampshire. We still have an opportunity to go back to their place and we'll be ready."