Hampshire executes offense perfectly, surprises Prospect

Hampshire’s win over Prospect in the opening round of the Wheeling Hardwood Classic was a layup.

Seventeen of them to be exact.

Hampshire went a bit old school Wednesday to stun Prospect 47-42. The Whip-Purs connected on 20 two-point baskets, with 17 of those off a layup. They also knocked down just one-three pointer.

“We’re not the biggest team,” Hampshire coach Mike Featherly said. “But I thought we did a good job of getting downhill attacking off the ball screen. It’s something we've been kind of preaching and like just kind of came together in that third quarter for us.”

Hampshire (8-6), which will meet Deerfield in the quarterfinals Thursday at 5:30 p.m., trailed 20-15 at the half. But the Whip-Purs, which had six first half layups, attacked the basket like a starving man at dinner.

Led by Adrien Ugochukwu, who came off the bench to lead his team with 17 points, Hampshire just came after Prospect (9-4) in waves offensively.

“That’s the one thing that we need to do in every game is we've got to make people uncomfortable,” Featherly said. “Especially on their offensive line. We’ve got to disrupt. Disrupt what they're doing. And I thought our guys did such a good job of that to kind of get them comfortable right from the get go.”

Hampshire began to convert layup after layup after layup in the third quarter. They pulled ahead for good at 30-28 on, of course, another layup, this one from Ugochukwu with 1:37 left in the period.

“Nick (Louis) did a good job on the pick and rolls to look for me,” Ugochukwu said. “They didn't do a good job of guarding it. I always slip when setting the screen and I just happened to make it. We are a small team, but we fight inside and we get the best looks that we can.”

Hampshire led 34-33 after a rebound basket by Prospect’s Cole Chapman with 6:16 to play.

The Whip-Purs then scored 10 unanswered points. It was ignited by a rare Hampshire jump shot by Daniel Lockett and then was followed by layups by Luke Lacke, Louis and a pair by Ugochukwu.

“We like getting after the ball and getting after it all the time,” said Luis, who finished with 9 points.

“We aren't tall, but we're really gritty. We always fight and people don't expect that from us. It’s awesome to have people have that mindset about us. Basically, we can go out and prove them wrong.”

Chapman led Prospect, which will meet Wauconda at 9 a.m. Thursday, with 17 points and 7 rebounds. Frankie Poshnjari, Drew Terpins and Ryan Liftin each had six points for the Knights.

“I give them (Hampshire) a lot of credit,” Prospect coach Brad Rathe said. “They played together. They had a game plan and they executed it. Our ability to guard the ball and guard the backscreens and ballscreens today, I am just at a loss.”

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