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Mikala Amegasse puts Hampshire ahead of Burlington Central

sophomore guard Mikala Amegasse He recognizes that his main contribution is on Hampshire’s defensive side. Normally cannot fill in the scoring column.

This also makes perfect sense for the Whip-Purs, whose starting lineup is filled with plenty of experienced strikers. Avery Cartee, Ashley Herzing, whitney thompson And Chloe VanHorn.

However, when Amegasse goes on the offensive, it makes his team even more dangerous.

“If I can step up and do something offensively, it adds to what we can achieve,” Amegasse said. “People know Ashley and Whitney are shooters. They know Avery is a threat. They know Chloe can go downhill.

“I’m just trying to do my best and fill in the gaps.”

Amegasse was at the center of Hampshire’s comeback in the fourth quarter on Wednesday night.

He hit a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter to give the Whip-Purs the lead for the first time since early in the third quarter, then calmly made a pair of free throws for a 58-50 Fox Valley Conference win.

Herzing scored a match-high 16 points for Hampshire (19-11, 12-3). Amegasse added 14 points, while Cartee and Thompson scored nine points each.

Emma Payton He led Burlington Central (13-14, 9-8) with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Audrey LaFleur He collected 12 points and then Emersyn Fries with 11 and Kenzie Andersen with 10.

Just last week, the Hampshire coach Eric Samuelson He met with his players. He went around the room asking everyone what they brought to the team. Amegasse was one of the first to speak.

“He’s just a sophomore and he stepped up and said, ‘I’ve got to stop turning the ball over and take smarter shots,'” Samuelson said. “He made some big threes, but they were step-by-step threes. They were in the flow of the offense.

“As far as taking care of basketball, I think he did a great job of that.”

Hampshire’s Mikala Amegasse (11) looks for a layup after making a fast break in the third quarter against Burlington Central during a Fox Valley Conference game in Hampshire on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024. (H. Rick Bamman / The Beacon-News) )

While the Rockets were leading 46-41 in the fourth quarter, Thompson and Amegasse opened the quarter with 3-pointers, giving Whip-Purs a 47-46 lead.

After a free throw forced a draw, Thompson hit another three-pointer and Hampshire never trailed again. He also started a 15-1 spurt that delayed the game.

Amegasse shot 4/8 from the field and 4/4 from the free throw line. He finished the game with four steals and three rebounds.

“I’m ready to do my best in any way I can,” Amegasse said. “But I can help my team, I want to do that. I feel like it’s a process and I’m constantly getting better.

“I hope I’ve grown this season. I think it shows a little bit.”

Hampshire's Ashley Herzing (33) drives into the lane past Burlington Central's Emersyn Fry (4) during a Fox Valley Conference game at Hampshire on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024.  Hampshire won 58-50.  Rick Bamman / For Beacon News
Hampshire’s Ashley Herzing (33) moves into the lane past Burlington Central’s Emersyn Fry (4) during a Fox Valley Conference game in Hampshire on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024. (H. Rick Bamman / The Beacon-News)

Meanwhile, the Rockets went on a 9-0 run early in the first quarter and held the lead for most of the game until Thompson’s 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.

Burlington Central coach ‘Helps shooting from outside’ Mike Carani aforementioned. “This gives you quite a few different options.”

Things changed after Hampshire finally took the lead in the fourth round.

“We were looking and trying to do things that would take us beyond what we did in the first three quarters,” Carani said. “We’re almost starting to put these together for a full game.

“If we can get through the full four quarters, there’s no reason why we can’t compete with a team at this level.”

But Amegasse’s progress is a big development for Hampshire. He credited his veteran teammates with helping bring him along.

“It’s truly inspiring,” Amegasse said. “They have a great work ethic. They are great leaders. I want to be like them one day. I’m going to miss them next year, but they gave me incredible things.”

Paul Johnson is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News.

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