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Gilbert, Sycamore pull away from Hampshire in home victory

SYCAMORE – The Sycamore girls basketball team couldn’t quite find its offensive rhythm early in Tuesday’s game against Hampshire.

Aside from Bailey Gilbert, the Spartans scored just 12 points in the first half.

Fortunately for Sycamore, Gilbert was hitting on all cylinders early. The junior scored 16 first-half points before several other Spartans began hitting shots in the second half to give the Spartans a 47-29 win. 

“It’s something that you’ve got to do when you’re a leader,” Gilbert said. “You’ve got to bring your team up with you, good or bad, and just try your best.”

Gilbert has become a go-to scorer for Sycamore this season, and Tuesday, she shot her team out of an early slump.

She scored eight of Sycamore’s 13 first-quarter points to give the Spartans a 13-7 lead, and she knocked down 6-of-8 free throws in the first half.

Lauren Goff also knocked down two 3-pointers early.

Gilbert finished with 21 points while Goff chipped in with 11.

“We came out a little sluggish, but we picked up steam as we went along in the game,” Sycamore coach Brett Goff said. “Bailey wasn’t sluggish. She got to the line a lot in the first half because she was being aggressive.”

The Spartans offense became multifaceted in the second half, when senior Julia Moll and sophomore Lauren Goff each scored five points and Kayley Aase added four of her own.

Meanwhile, the Spartans were able to hold 6-foot-2 Hampshire sophomore Emma Benoit, an offensive focal point for the Whip-Purs (7-10), to only four points in the game.

Sycamore (12-4) went on a 15-4 run to start the fourth quarter to lead, 43-24, and the Spartans showed just how dangerous they can be when they hit their offensive stride. 

“This year, we have several different [offensive threats], and we’re learning to trust each other more,” Moll said. “That makes it even easier because they have to sag off of [Gilbert] and help with our other players, because we can do anything in this offense. Then, Bailey gets an open shot and, like coach said, she’s been on fire for this whole season.”

After losing twice to Hampshire last season, the young Spartans showed Tuesday just how far they’ve come in a year.

“I wasn’t too worried [early],” Moll said. “I knew we could come out of the gate at any time. I think we’re that good of a team, to be able to turn on a switch, and I think we proved that tonight. We were still leading at halftime, and I think we came out and just, metaphorically, put our foot on their neck. We kind of put it away.”

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