Sycamore tops Hampshire, continues perfect season
To Evyn Carrier, Sycamore's ongoing undefeated season -- and the reward that has come along with it -- goes beyond basketball itself.
"I wouldn't even say it's about the title or the winning or the undefeated [season], it's more about the bond that we have on this team," Carrier said Monday following Sycamore's convincing 56-24 victory over Hampshire on as part of the Batavia MLK tournament.
"This is more than just basketball. It's family. Practices are always fun, whether they're literally hard running or they're easy. We just have such a bond that we trust each other and it's fun."
Sycamore has won all 18 games so far this season, and perhaps, it's most evident due to the suffocating defense and relentless rebounding the Spartans employ from the opening tip to the final whistle.
"We can give you multiple [defensive] looks. I think that's something that we try to pride ourselves on. We like switching defenses a little bit," Sycamore coach Adam Wickness said. "I think that we've got the length to be able to show our zone and throw teams out of rhythm a little bit."
Hampshire (5-10) was limited to 13 first-half points and didn't score in the second half until Ceili Ramirez's jumper with 2:20 left in the third quarter.
Suffice to say, Sycamore won't take its foot off the gas pedal defensively.
"I just think, the bottom line: they communicate really well," Wickness said about Monday's game. "We have preached from day one 'whatever action you take, I just want there to be communication and make sure you're communicating those actions.' It's been really fun to watch them develop as a team."
Carrier, a junior, finished with six points and seven rebounds.
"We just have something to prove this year," Carrier said. "Whether it's the top team in the state or the lowest team in the state, we're not going to let off. We're going to give it all we have; no matter how up we are or how down we are, like I said, we have something to prove and I know we can. Honestly, it's just a fight to the end."
Sycamore was paced by Faith Feuerbach's 19 points and three rebounds. Feuerbach made her first five consecutive baskets for 13 first-quarter points. Lexi Carlsen had eight points.
Hampshire was paced by Ramirez's five points, while Avery Cartee, Whitney Thompson, and Chloe Van Horn each had four points apiece. Cartee and Kaitlyn Milison each had five rebounds.
Hampshire coach Eric Samuelson pinpointed a couple areas Monday where his team needed to improve.
"The first two things that are correctable are sprinting back on defense and passing the ball up the floor," Samuelson said. "Forget our offense; forget our defense, like our sets and what our schemes are: pass the ball before half court, instead of dribbling over half court and everyone sprint back on defense. Those two things start everything and then, you have something to work on."
To Samuelson, Whip-Purs guard Lia Saunders "played her butt off." Saunders had three points, and played tough defense despite the deficit.
"She played really hard," Samuelson said. "She came to play. She wasn't scared. [Sycamore is] good. She didn't care if they were good. She said: 'I'm good, too, I'm going to play defense.' She played really hard and I thought Ramirez played [well]."