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Hampshire coach Bob Barnett said his Whip-Purs “escaped” with a win after Friday’s opener in DeKalb’s 85th Annual Dayton Holiday Tournament.
The natural question then was how to describe Saturday’s 49-48 second-round victory over Chicago Vocational which enabled Hampshire (10-1) to extend its win streak to 10.
“Houdini-esqe. That’s what that was,” Barnett quipped after CVS (7-3) rallied from a three-point deficit to claim a 48-47 on two Antoine Smith free throws with 8.6 seconds left.
That’s when the Whip-Purs’ Tyler Crater drove the length of the court and down the lane for a high-arching 7-footer that left the Cavaliers trailing with 1.7 ticks on the clock. Hampshire committed its sixth team foul on the inbound before CVS was unable to get off a shot in the remaining 1.2.
“We expected a man-to-man defense, but they were using more of a three-quarter court zone, so once I got the ball I just cut across and Shane (Hernandez) screened two guys at once,” Crater noted. “Can’t say that I was positive it would go in, because you never know with floaters.”
“We had two main options for either Tyler or Ryan (Cork). One was to go to a wing or corner if possible and the other was to drive the lane for a shot or to draw the defense and kick it out,” Barnett explained. “We knew we were in the bonus and figured we’d still have an opportunity at the line in the worst-case scenario.”
Vocational used a 6-0 run to finish the opening quarter with a 12-8 lead; however, Hampshire closed the second frame nailing four consecutive three-pointers to enjoy a 26-20 intermission edge.
“We did run a couple sets for threes, but the guys also felt positive, I know Cork hit one that was not by design,” Barnett admitted.
The third quarter, which ended with Hampshire up 36-35, set in motion a series of ties and lead changes which produced a 44-all draw. Hernandez executed an in-the-lane hook and later made the front of a one-and-bonus with 21.6 to be played for a 47-44 lead.
Malcolm Martin drove for two but wasn’t able to convert a free throw for an old-fashioned three-point play. However, CVS got the board and Smith’s two free throws in order to believe it had the follow-up to Friday’s 51-44 win over Geneseo.
Michael Taylor led Vocational with 19 while Michael Rollins added 12 in a losing effort. Crater’s game-high 21 paced Hampshire which also had 12 from Hernandez.
Hampshire looks to go unbeaten in its pool when the tourney resumes on Wednesday with the Whip-Purs having a 5 pm meeting with a Geneseo squad that is winless in the pool.