HAMPSHIRE – It looked like Tuesday night’s Fox Valley Conference Fox Division boys’ basketball game between Hampshire and Johnsburg wasn’t going to be decided in the final minutes.
The host Whip-Purs built a 19-point lead late in the third quarter and were cruising to an easy win. The Skyhawks stormed back but could never tie the score, as Hampshire held on for a 57-46 victory.
After the two teams traded the lead several times in the first quarter and a half, the Whips (10-12 overall, 6-3 FVC Fox) went to a 14-2 run in the second quarter and took a 29-19 lead into the half. They extended their lead in the third quarter behind a mammoth eight minutes from Matthew Bridges, who scored 12 of his game-high 21 points during the quarter as Hampshire took a 47-28 lead.
Johnsburg (6-17, 4-6) began to chip away, scoring the last four points of the third quarter and then the first 12 points of the fourth to pull within 47-44 with 2:45 to play. That was as close as the Skyhawks would get, as Hampshire finally got shots to fall again and score 10 of the final 12 points of the game.
Hampshire coach Bob Barnett said he made a coaching mistake late in the third quarter that allowed Johnsburg to begin its comeback.
“I wanted to get some guys some rest at the end of the third quarter, and it was my mistake,” Barnett said. “I shouldn’t have put three subs in at one time.”
Barnett, though, was quick to give the Skyhawks credit for not just playing out the string after his team took a huge lead.
“That’s one thing about Johnsburg, they are never going to give up,” Barnett added.
Bridges said the reason for his big quarter was because of some halftime adjustments.
“My teammates did a good job getting me the ball, we struggled in the zone during the first half and at halftime, coach drew up a plan and got the ball to me,” Bridges said.
Trey Schramm added 13 points, and Drew Doran had 10 points for the Whips.
Steve Dixon led Johnsburg with 11 points, all in the second half. Skyhawks coach Mike Toussaint said he was pleased with his team’s comeback.
“We showed a lot of character,” Toussaint said. “We said that we need to chip away, chip away, and we did it on the defensive end when [Hampshire] settled for some long bombs. We didn’t give up.”