Hare gets hot, Bartlett shoots past Naperville Central

 
By Bob Narang
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 3/6/2021 7:43 PM

Bartlett junior guard Mackenzie Hare stared at the basket in disbelief late in the first quarter of Saturday's game.

Standing directly on the 3-point line, just a few feet away from Naperville Central's bench, Hare leaned in against her defender, then took a quick step back to gain some room to launch a 3-pointer.

 

She missed.

That was a rare sight in the first half for Hare.

Hare buried five 3-pointers and scored 27 of her 35 points in the first half to lead Bartlett to a 74-57 win.

Senior teammate Lexi Sinclair, the other half of the double-trouble combination, the finished with 22 points and Trinity Reyes made three 3-pointers for 9 points.

"It felt great and is always nice as a shooter to start off great," Hare said. "I had some nice clean shooting pockets and screens."

Hare's sizzling shooting performance was in stark contrast to Thursday's poor start against South Elgin.

Hare, a St. Louis recruit, opened up Thursday's game against South Elgin by shooting a frigid 1-for-10 on 3-pointers. She eventually heated up to finish with 27 points, and carried that over into Friday's win over East Aurora and Saturday's game.

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Hare put on a shooting clinic by drilling 3s from all over the court, and in transition.

"You have to keep shooting as a shooter, and it will eventually find the bottom of the net," Hare said. "You just have to keep shooting. I just hit a hot streak on Thursday and it has carried onto the next two games. I just have to keep it going."

The Hawks (11-3, 9-0) clinched their fourth straight league title on Thursday, and earned the top seed for next weekend's conference tournament at Bartlett.

The Redhawks (8-4) were coming off a tough defeat to rival Naperville North on Friday night, where they received a up close look at McDonald's All-American and Oregon State recruit Greta Kampschroeder. Naperville Central senior guard Gabi Melby, a Tennessee-Martin recruit, scored 25 points.

"I think between the two of us is nice because the last time (Thursday) Mackenzie wasn't feeling it, and I was feeling it in the first half," said Sinclair, a St. Bonaventure recruit. "It's refreshing when both of us are feeling it as the same time. It makes it harder for teams to guard us."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Hare-Sinclair guard combination proved to be too much for the Redhawks. With the two Division I guards taking turns hitting jumpers and attacking the basket, the Redhawks fell into a deep hole late in the first quarter.

Hare and Sinclair combined to score all 40 of Bartlett's first-half points, including its first 43 points.

Hare drilled a deep 24-footer from the top of the key with seven seconds left in the second quarter to hand the Hawks a commanding 40-28 lead at halftime. She scored one less point than the entire Naperville Central team in the first two quarters.

"That's the thing with having two players like Mackenzie and Lexi that you know it at any moment it's going to be a run and the other team hates playing against them," Bartlett coach Kristi Ragan said. "They are constantly looking for each other and making each other better. It's always exciting to watch."

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