After being limited in the first two games with an ankle injury, Hampshire’s Matthew Bridges made his presence felt at the Leland G. Strombom Tournament in Sycamore on Friday night.
The junior scored a team-high 20 points and added 12 rebounds to lead the Whip-purs to their first win of the season with a 61-40 triumph after opening with a pair of losses. Ryan Cork added 18 points.
“He is a big key for us,” said Hampshire coach Bob Barnett. “He is able to get into the paint and get some boards for us. He can also score. We need that kind of presence inside because it gives us a nice complement to Ryan on the outside.”
Cork gave the Whip-Purs an early spark with a pair of three-pointers to open the scoring. Cork had 10 points in the first quarter as Hampshire (1-2) jumped out to a 17-8 lead.
“We were a lot better running our offense tonight,” said Cork. “We couldn’t get it going the first two games. It helped a lot to have Matt back. Having him inside helps open up things up.
“I was getting some nice looks. I have been working on extending my range and was able to knock down a couple early on to get going. My teammates did a great job of getting me the ball.”
Bridges got cranked up in the second quarter, scoring eight points to help the Whip-Purs extend their lead to 35-18 at the break.
“We had a lot better flow to the offense tonight,” said Barnett. “We moved the ball well and got some good looks. We are young and still learning, but I liked some of the things I saw tonight.”
Bridges had another big third quarter with nine points as the Whip-Purs continued to pad the lead in the second half. The Hampshire defense held Sandwich (0-3) to just 13-of-41 shooting (31 percent) from the field.