BURLINGTON – The first half of Hampshire’s regional semifinal against Burlington Central on Wednesday felt eerily similar to its win over Sycamore on Monday as the Whip-Purs fell into a double-digit deficit.
But this time, the Whip-Purs’ second-half rally fell short. Burlington Central built a nine-point lead after the first quarter and never trailed after the opening minutes in a 36-26 victory over Hampshire in the Class 3A Burlington Central Regional.
“We were a little sloppy with the ball,” Burlington Central coach Mark Smith said. “ But overall I thought we, in the fourth quarter, we kept our composure, hit some free throws and got the job done.”
After trailing by only four at halftime, Hampshire again found itself down double digits late in the third quarter. But a 9-0 run, capped by a layup by Emma Benoit from Jenny Dumoulin and a 3-pointer from Nikki Dumoulin brought the Whip-Purs to within three.
However, Hampshire wouldn’t get any closer as the Rockets knocked down 10 of their final 12 free throws to close the game.
Jenny Dumoulin led the Whip-Purs with 12 points and five rebounds. Benoit also had six points in the loss.
Hampshire 51, Johnsburg 38: At Hampshire, the Whip-Purs countered a staunch Johnsburg defense with a weapon of their own: Shane Hernandez.
The Whip-Purs’ 6-foot-6 center blocked a career-high eight shots as Hampshire rolled to a Fox Valley Conference Fox Division win.
“They were playing a zone which kind of slowed us down a bit, but we played very well defensively,” Hampshire coach Bob Barnett said.
The Whip-Purs led by 23 points with four minutes left in the game.
Senior Michael Dumoulin scored a game-high 14 points, senior Tyler Crater added 13, and junior Ryan Cork dished out a season-high 10 assists for Hampshire (20-4 overall, 9-2 FVC Fox).
Senior T.J. Sigmund scored a team-high 10 points, and Steve Dixon added nine on a trio of 3-pointers for the Skyhawks (13-12, 5-6).
• Chris Burrows contributed to this report.