Sinclair, Hare lead Bartlett to UEC title
Bartlett guards Lexie Sinclair and Mckenzie Hare walked off the court for the final time together late in Saturday's game against Glenbard South.
For the past three years, Sinclair and Hare have been linked together because of their next-level talents and ability to carry a heavy scoring lead for the Hawks.
Sinclair, a senior guard committed to St. Bonaventure, and Hare showed little emotion, each walking to their bench seat to maintain social distancing.
Unlike a normal season, when fans and students would be clapping the exploits of Sinclair and Hare, the silence in the Bartlett gym served as the perfect microcosm of a truncated season without a state tournament.
The high-scoring duo did manage to put on one last memorable performance together in the Upstate Eight Conference championship game.
Hare, a junior, made two 3-pointers for a game-high 25 points and Sinclair chipped in 16 points in a 48-38 victory in the Upstate Eight Conference championship game at Bartlett.
Glenbard South senior guard Lauren Cohen, an Illinois State recruit, had 12 points and Gianna Glouzzi and Alex Wilharm both finished with 11.
The Hawks (12-3) concluded the season with the regular season and conference titles and won 11 in a row.
Even so, it was a bittersweet moment for Sinclair in her final game in a Bartlett uniform. Sinclair said her two of her fondest memories in her four-year career were beating Geneva in a Class 4A sectional semifinal at Bartlett in her sophomore year, and capturing the UEC tourney title on Saturday.
"It's been a different year, not having regionals or sectionals and win or going home," Sinclair said. "It's nice to get the win, and the emotions are still there because it's the last game I'm going to play in high school. It's just different now. Sitting there at the end, I was thinking about I'm never going to play on this court again. It's nice, though. It's nice winning the conference and the tournament championship."
Hare, a St. Louis recruit, and Sinclair combined for 24 of the Hawks' first-half points in building a 25-14 lead. After Glenbard South grabbed an 8-7 lead, Hare and Sinclair combined to score the final 18 points of the half for the Hawks.
Bartlett coach Kristi Ragan said Sinclair and the rest of the seniors will be remembered for several years.
"Being able to finish our season at home with the seniors who changed the legacy of this program is special," Ragan said. "Lexi has made an incredible impact in her four years. She's brought everybody together and cares about the program. It's been great to have a season, to finish the season with a championship."
Glenbard South (10-6) rebounded from an 0-4 start to the season to place second in the conference tourney.
"I'm just glad that we had a season," Glenbard South coach Morgan Eufrasio said. "I have three seniors in Cohen, Wilharm and Iman Sellars who have been with us for four years and had a ton of success. Bartlett is a really good offensive team. Hare is ridiculous. She gets that shot off so quick, and is almost unstoppable to stop. She's a great player. This was a nice way to finish the season out with a conference tournament."