HAMPSHIRE – The Hampshire girls basketball team searched for a solution for Crystal Lake South’s stout defense at halftime Friday.
The Gators had an eight-point advantage, and had limited the Whip-Purs to 4 for 23 from the floor in the first half, so the Whips upped the tempo, hoping to circumvent the Gators’ defense. It worked, and Hampshire snagged a lead but couldn’t hold on.
The Whips’ rally fell short, 46-41, in a nonconference Fox Valley Conference crossover game.
“In the second half, we decided to try to press and hopefully get a little helter-skelter going and maybe get some baskets in our favor that way, and it really paid off,” Hampshire coach Ed Haugens said. “That’s the kind of basketball we need to be playing all the time.”
The Whips (0-7) couldn’t stop Sara Mickow, South’s towering junior forward, who scored a game-high 18 points to go with 21 rebounds.
“[Mickow] is a presence in the middle,” South coach Kyle McCaughn said. “She’s just that steady force for us.”
Junior Rachel Rasmussen scored nine points, and freshman Chanel Fanter added eight for the Gators (4-3).
Senior Jenny Dumoulin wasn’t slowed down despite foul trouble and scored a team-high 13 points for Hampshire, and junior point guard Sara Finn added nine points and 11 steals.
Mickow ended the first quarter with nearly identical short baseline jumpers that put South up 12-1.
Sophomore reserve Carly Nolan extended that lead with a layup and a foul for a three-point play early in the second quarter.
“Coming off the bench, we had a lot of people coming in that don’t usually get time, so I think everyone stepped up,” Mickow said.
Over the remaining 5:30 of the first half, Hampshire went on an 8-1 run, including a baseline 3-pointer from junior Becky Dumoulin and a leaping steal and transition play from Jenny Dumoulin that was a preview for what was to come.
“At halftime we knew that we had them at  for 23 from the field, and a team like this is not going to continue to shoot like that, especially with the shots we were giving them,” McCaughn said.
Senior Lizzy Panzica opened a chaotic, racing second half with a quick transition layup that spurred a 9-0 run for the Whips punctuated by a 3 from Tricia Dumoulin and a steal to transition bucket from Jenny Dumoulin that earned them a 21-20 lead with 4:26 left in the third quarter.
The Gators’ defense labored to keep possession with Finn and Jenny Dumoulin combining for 18 steals in the game.
“[Finn] does a great job on our defense anticipating and picking off passes,” Haugens said. “She’s really picked up our defense. You don’t think that she’s going to get there and somehow she does.”
The Gators regained control with back-to-back scored from Fanter and Nolan, and led 32-27 after the third quarter.
With less than a minute to play, Jenny Dumoulin rebounded her own free throw attempt for a layup to pull Hampshire within three, but the Whips couldn’t make up the ground.
“This Hampshire team is going to win a bunch of games,” McCaughn said “The way they play, they cause you fits. ... They pressured us, they got after us, and we certainly didn’t handle it.”