Hare shoots Bartlett to 3rd straight Upstate Eight title
Every time the South Elgin girls basketball team rallied, Bartlett sophomore Mackenzie Hare had an answer.
The Hawks entered Friday night's Upstate Eight Conference home contest with a one-game lead over the visiting Storm. Behind a 35-point performance from Hare, Bartlett (22-8, 16-1) clinched a 3-peat in the UEC with a 66-56 win.
Hare's performance was highlighted by an 8-for-12 performance from behind the arc with several of her 3s coming at key points in the game to stop Storm (22-8, 14-3) rallies.
Her performance also tied her program record for most 3s in a game and beat her own single-season record with 105 after hitting 102 last year. She also overtook her sister, 2018 graduate Kayla Hare, who had 205 career 3-pointers. Mackenzie now has 207.
"She still has two years to go, so hats off to her," said Bartlett coach Joe Eirich. "She's exactly what you want in a player as a coach."
"We knew there was going to be back and forth," Hare said. "They would rally and we would rally, but we just needed to box out, rebound and just stop their rallies as soon as possible and keep ours going longer. It was just a fun game."
South Elgin trailed most of the night and held just two leads, 2-0 and 20-19, but the Storm kept fighting to the end.
The Storm rallied from an early 10-point deficit in the second quarter to take that 20-19 lead with 5:06 left before break, but Hare scored 15 of her points in the first half including three 3s to help take a 39-24 lead at halftime.
Bartlett was up by as much as 17 points in the third quarter, 46-29, and led 49-35 late when South Elgin rattled off seven straight points capped by a Caroline Croft (13 points) 3-pointer to pull to 49-42 with 9.2 seconds left. But on the other end Hare hit an off-balance 3 with 1.4 seconds left and was fouled. After completing the 4-point play, the Hawks led 53-42 entering the fourth.
"When you run into a player who had a game like her, that's Steph Curry type of stuff," Storm coach Dan Mandernack said. "No one shoots like that, it's not supposed to happen."
Mandernack added: "As soon as we'd get it there, they would answer. They're a good team, but obviously I'm super proud of my team because they battled."
The Storm pulled within single digits four times in the fourth quarter, but Hare answered twice early with 3s. A Croft bucket pulled South Elgin to 62-56 with 38.9 seconds left, but Hare went 4-for-4 from the charity stripe the rest of the way to seal the win.
Madison Waichunas led South Elgin with 14 points, Megan McClure had 13 and Raina Yang tallied 9.
Lexie Sinclair tallied 13 points with a pair of 3-pointers for the Hawks, and Trinity Reyes added 9 all from behind the arc.
"Hats off to my girls," Eirich said. "They played their butts off and had a great game. Conference three years in a row and over those three years we're 43-2 in conference. I'll take it."