Hampshire downs Boylan to reach sectional final

  • Hampshire's Keynan Davis brings the ball down the court during the second quarter of the Class 3A Boylan Sectional semifinal game in Rockford on Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2020. Randy Stukenberg for The Daily Herald

    Hampshire's Keynan Davis brings the ball down the court during the second quarter of the Class 3A Boylan Sectional semifinal game in Rockford on Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2020. Randy Stukenberg for The Daily Herald Randy Stukenberg/for Shaw Media Illinois

  • Hampshire head coach Mike Featherly goes over strategy during a time out late in the fourth quarter of the Class 3A Boylan Sectional semifinal game in Rockford on Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2020. Randy Stukenberg for The Daily Herald

    Hampshire head coach Mike Featherly goes over strategy during a time out late in the fourth quarter of the Class 3A Boylan Sectional semifinal game in Rockford on Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2020. Randy Stukenberg for The Daily Herald Randy Stukenberg/for Shaw Media Illinois

  • Hampshire's Jackson Milison drives past Boylan's Anthony Brown.

    Hampshire's Jackson Milison drives past Boylan's Anthony Brown. Randy Stukenberg/for Shaw Media Illinois

  • Hampshire fans react to a play during the fourth quarter Wednesday.

    Hampshire fans react to a play during the fourth quarter Wednesday. Randy Stukenberg/for Shaw Media Illinois

  • Hampshire's Jeremy Rosa, Jr., pushes into Boylan's Johnny Close during the first quarter of the Class 3A Boylan Sectional semifinal game in Rockford on Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2020.

    Hampshire's Jeremy Rosa, Jr., pushes into Boylan's Johnny Close during the first quarter of the Class 3A Boylan Sectional semifinal game in Rockford on Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2020. Randy Stukenberg/for Shaw Media Illinois

  • Hampshire's Nicholas Erickson, left, and Jeremy Rosa, Jr., block a shot by Boylan's Anthony Brown Wednesday during the Class 3A Boylan sectional.

    Hampshire's Nicholas Erickson, left, and Jeremy Rosa, Jr., block a shot by Boylan's Anthony Brown Wednesday during the Class 3A Boylan sectional. Randy Stukenberg/for Shaw Media Illinois

  • Hampshire's Jeremy Rosa, Jr., puts up a shot during the second quarter of the Class 3A Boylan Sectional semifinal game in Rockford on Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2020.

    Hampshire's Jeremy Rosa, Jr., puts up a shot during the second quarter of the Class 3A Boylan Sectional semifinal game in Rockford on Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2020. Randy Stukenberg/for Shaw Media Illinois

  • Hampshire's Collin Woods tries to get past Boylan's Dayvion Foreman during the second quarter of the Class 3A Boylan Sectional semifinal game in Rockford on Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2020.

    Hampshire's Collin Woods tries to get past Boylan's Dayvion Foreman during the second quarter of the Class 3A Boylan Sectional semifinal game in Rockford on Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2020. Randy Stukenberg/for Shaw Media Illinois

  • Hampshire's Jackson Milison puts up a shot in the fourth quarter of the Class 3A Boylan Sectional semifinal game in Rockford on Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2020.

    Hampshire's Jackson Milison puts up a shot in the fourth quarter of the Class 3A Boylan Sectional semifinal game in Rockford on Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2020. Randy Stukenberg/for Shaw Media Illinois

 
 
Updated 3/11/2020 10:51 PM

Hampshire's last defensive stand against Boylan was almost perfect.

It also showed how far the Whip-Purs have come in a self-admittedly up-and-down season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We changed it up (on Boylan). We switched everything," Hampshire coach Mike Featherly said. "We tried doing that earlier in the season and we just didn't do a good job communicating.

"That was awesome to see. We got after it defensively tonight."

With a 3-point lead and 19.5 seconds remaining, Hampshire's defenders battled through screens and didn't let Boylan get a clean look at the basket. Senior Johnny Close, the Titans' top shooter, was forced into the corner, shooting over 6-foot-4 Keynan Davis and hitting the back rim at the buzzer.

The Whips celebrated a 62-59 victory against top-seeded Boylan and will play No. 2-seeded Wauconda in the sectional final at 7 p.m. Friday. The Whips (22-11) have never won a sectional title in program history.

"It just goes to show how hard we've worked this season," said Jackson Milison, one of three Whips with 12 points. "I liked how we adjusted the switching (on Boylan's last possession). They all can shoot, especially No. 3 (Close). We just clamped down defensively."

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Hampshire was keeping track of Close, wherever he moved.

"We knew they were going to look for No. 3," Featherly said. "Him coming off the ball screen kind of worried us, so we switched everyone. The guys executed it very well."

Hampshire led, 58-49, with 2:30 remaining after a one-handed slam by Davis, and back-to-back baskets from Jeremy Rosa and Milison. Boylan (25-8) had the next seven points, cutting the lead to 58-56.

Boylan later cut the lead to one, 60-59, on a putback from Close, but Milison nailed two free throws with 29.1 seconds left for a 62-59 lead. Hampshire was a perfect 11-of-11 shooting from the free-throw line. Boylan was 9 of 13.

"He (Milison) doesn't get the headlines, he doesn't get the recognition, and I don't think he cares," Featherly said. "He's been so solid for us all season. He hit some big 3s and those big free throws at the end. Of all the guys to foul, I want him on the line."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Hampshire sophomore forward Adam Ugochukwu also came up big for the Whips, scoring five points in the final 4:25. He guarded Boylan big man Anthony Brown for much of the game.

"This is new to me, and it's a great experience," said Ugochukwu, a first-year varsity player. "I just tried to keep (Brown) out of the post as much as possible. We watched film on him and I just made sure he stayed out of the post."

Brown finished with a game-high 16 points after scoring only four in the first half. Close and Andrew Latino added 15 apiece for the Titans.

Milison, Rosa and Woods each had 12 points, and Nick Erickson tossed in six points on two 3s. Milison came away with four steals, Woods tallied four assists, and Erickson grabbed seven rebounds.

The Whips will look to make history Friday.

"It means the world to all of us," Rosa said. "We fought to get here. We've been fighting all season. Now we're in a sectional championship, so we're happy."

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.