BURLINGTON – The Sycamore girls basketball team had trouble against Hampshire’s pressure defense during a 41-39 nonconference loss earlier in the season and those same offensive issues came into play Tuesday.
Sycamore led by 10 points after the first quarter, but couldn’t hang on as Hampshire rallied for a 51-43 win in the Class 3A Burlington Central Regional quarterfinals.
“We don’t see that [defense] most of the year too much,” Sycamore coach Brett Goff said. “We didn’t get back in transition a couple times. That hasn’t happened to us much all year. Just little things that did us.”
No. 4 seed Sycamore (13-13) couldn’t have scripted a better start as the Spartans hit 6 of their first 8 shots from the field, including 3 for 4 from beyond the arc.
A 3-pointer by Lauren Goff off a feed from Julia Moll gave the Spartans a 14-4 lead after the first quarter.
“We didn’t take a lot of shots, but the shots we took seemed to go in,” Sycamore coach Brett Goff said. “Defensively, we held them to four points, you can’t ask for more as a coach.”
But No. 5 Hampshire’s offense got better looks in the paint starting in the second quarter.
The Whip-Purs closed out the quarter with eight points in the final two minutes and only trailed, 26-19, at the half. That spurt continued after halftime.
The Whip-Purs ran off a string of 16 consecutive points, capped by a 3-pointer from Sara Finn to give Hampshire a 40-29 lead.
“They shared the ball well,” Hampshire coach Ed Haugens said. “I was impressed with our rebounding and how we battled back. If this was earlier in the season I don’t know if we would’ve come back.”
The Spartans battled back as Paige Wogen and Bailey Gilbert made back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the lead to five points with just more than two minutes to go, but Sycamore wouldn’t get any closer.
Hampshire advances to play No. 1 seed Burlington Central in the regional semifinals at 6 p.m.
Gilbert led the Spartans with 17 points, including three three-pointers. Wogen had eight points in the loss.
Sycamore loses only one senior, Jessica Mollman, and will return all five of its starters next season.
“We had a nice four-game win streak at the end of the year, played extremely well,” Goff said. “The rest of it is going to be up to them, how much they want to put in in the offseason. We could be very good or we could be one of those teams that’s labeled potentially good.”
Kaneland advances to semis: Most teams would rather take the bye into the regional semifinals rather than have to play three games en route to a regional title.
But after Kaneland’s game against Rochelle on Thursday was canceled and having not played a game in a week, the Knights didn’t seem to mind getting back on the court.
Buoyed by six three-pointers from Allyson O’Herron, Kaneland jumped out to an early lead and dominated Sandwich, 50-14, in the night’s other regional quarterfinal.
“It was nice to have a game to kind of get back in the swing of things because we hadn’t played in a while,” O’Herron said. “Any time a team’s in the zone, I know I’m going to get some open looks and when I feel it I feel it. Any shooter is going to say that.”
O’Herron finished with 20 points to lead the Knights, who led, 22-4, at halftime.
The Knights advance to play No. 2 seed Plano in the regional semifinals today at 7:30 p.m.
“We know they’re talented, they have some good athletes,” Kaneland coach Ernie Colombe said. “We’ll have to play well [Wednesday].”