Saunders, Hampshire block Lake Park

Clutch free throws and a critical blocked shot.

Those ingredients provided a hard fought 47-45 win for Hampshire over Lake Park in first round action of the Dundee-Crown High School 39th annual Komaromy Classic Monday.

The Whip-Purs (10-4) will play Maine South in quarterfinal action at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Lake Park (8-5}, in the consolation bracket, will tangle with South Elgin at 11 a.m.

Nursing a slim 41-39 lead, Whitney Thompson calmly sank 4 free throws to give the Whip-Purs a 45-39 advantage.

Thompson, with a pair of 3-pointers, led the winners with 12 points.

"Coach (Eric Samuelson) always talks about closing out games," said Thompson. "It was a good win against a quality team. We played with a lot of energy and rebounded."

Gabriella Burgess followed with a 3 to pull the Lancers (8-5) within 45-42 with 45 seconds remaining.

Burgess attempted a 3-pointer with 15 seconds left to tie the game, but Hampshire's Lia Saunders blocked the shot.

"I didn't even know I blocked the shot," said Saunders. "Coach always talk about defense translating to offense."

Saunders backed up Thompson with 9 points.

Despite a tough first half, Hampshire trailed only 17-16 at intermission. The Whips made only 6-of-25 from the floor for 24% and were 2-of-10 from 3-point range.

Hampshire, which committed 10 turnovers, missed 8 layups during the first 16 minutes.

Scoring 20 points in the fourth quarter, Hampshire was 7-of-14 from the field and 4-of-10 from beyond the arc in the second half. Hampshire, which didn't shoot a free throw in the first half, made 14-of-17 in the second half and 12-of-15 in the fourth quarter.

"We shot the ball much better in the second half," said Samuelson. "This is a game we lose last year. We played with a lot of heart and were up to the challenge."

Grace Cord led Lake Park with 16 points and 6 rebounds while Michela Barbanette scored 11 points,

"The free-throw line was the game," said Lake Park coach Brian Rupp. "They shoot 14-of-17 and we shoot 9-of-19. We just need to bounce back against South Elgin."

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