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Hampshire's Brendan Waterworth (22) passes the ball over Crystal Lake Central's Jake VanScoyoc during the second quarter of their game at Crystal Lake on Saturday. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
Hampshire started Saturday’s Fox Valley Fox showdown against conference favorite Crystal Lake Central with a 7-0 run, but would like to forget the game’s final 29 minutes and 16 seconds.
Central 6-foot-7 center Kyle Fleck got into the game after sitting out the start because he was late to a practice and the Tigers rapidly turned into a completely different team in a 65-33 homecourt rout of Hampshire.
“I didn’t like our energy to start the game,” Central coach Rich Czeslawski said.
“We called timeout down 7-0 and talked about, ‘where’s the energy?’
“And it didn’t get much better right away.”
However, after Fleck came in later in the quarter, the energy started to pick up. And after trailing 13-7, Central went on to outscore Hampshire 24-6 in the second quarter and never was seriously challenged after that point.
Fleck finished with 17 points, four rebounds, three blocks and was primarily responsible for triggering numerous Tiger fast breaks for easy buckets as Central won for the 13th straight time. The Tigers’ only loss came in the season-opener to Carmel.
“I’m disappointed in the way we reacted to some of the situations that occurred,” Hampshire coach Bob Barnett said after his team fell to 12-3 overall and 1-1 in the FVC Fox.
“I know we shot horrid, but still the thing I told them is what disappointed me is we stopped relying on each other and we decided to go one on one, individual stuff.
“And we can’t do that. Central is a good team, a great team, the best team we’ve faced all year. When they get physical like that we can’t abandon what we try to do.”
Hampshire went through a scoreless drought of 3:41 in the second quarter as the Tigers (13-1, 1-0) scored 12 straight points. Then Hampshire went scoreless in the third quarter for over four minutes while the Tigers scored 11 straight points to put the game away. Hampshire made just 7-of-39 shots from the field the final three quarters (18 percent).
“It was quite a drought,” Barnett said. “I was spitting dust.”
Guard Corban Murphy scored 13 points and guard Jake Van Scoyoc had 11 for Central.
But it Was Fleck who seemed to energize them after serving out his punishment.
“I was fine with it,” he said of sitting out the start. “I wasn’t going to pout about it. I just wanted to get in and help my team out.”
Central’s aggressive man-to-man shut down Hampshire scorers Tyler Crater and Shane Hernandez.
Crater finished with 10 points on 3-of-18 from the field, while Hernandez had eight points. Ryan Cork also struggled from the field to finish with four points on 2-of-13 from the floor.
“It never entered my mind we couldn’t play with this team,” Barnett said. “But it just snowballed.
“It’s not like us.”