Benoit, Hampshire roll over Genoa-Kingston

Hampshire girls basketball coach Mike Featherly wants to play inside-out basketball. Tuesday it was more like inside basketball.

The Whip-Purs pounded the ball inside to Emma Benoit and she was able to finish at the rim, leaving little need to kick the ball back outside.

Benoit finished with 28 points as the Whips knocked of Genoa-Kingston, 51-27, in the semifinals of the Class 3A Belvidere regional.

The Whips will face Rockford Boylan, a 53-25 winner against the host Bucs, in Thursday's regional final.

"(The guards) did a really great job getting it in," said Benoit. "Our defense is kind of what helped that, with our transition game."

The Whip-Purs' inside dominance extended to the backboards as well. Hampshire held an astounding 29-3 rebounding edge through 3 quarters and finished with a 35-8 margin. Eight offensive rebounds led to 13 second-chance points.

Benoit and Nikki Dumoulin grabbed 9 boards apiece, and Megan Heine had 5 off the bench to go with 5 points. Allie Peters added 8 points and 4 rebounds for Hampshire (20-8).

"Anytime there's a zone, there's a lot of weaknesses rebounding and we took advantage of it," Featherly said. "I told the girls from the beginning to be the aggressors and they did a nice job of following that.

"Our girls have been doing a better job as of late of getting it inside. A lot of things open up because of that."

Hampshire broke the game open with a 12-0 first-quarter run. Benoit accounted for 6 of those points. The Whips then outscored the Cogs 11-2 in the second quarter.

While Hampshire lived in the paint, Genoa's only real offense was the 3-point shot. Julie Galauner and Jesi Nay each hit three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points, but the rest of the Cogs combined for just 5 points.

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