Ryan HamptonEDWARDSVILLE - Senior forward Ryan Hampton has been a key contributor in the 2021 season for the Edwardsville boys basketball team, coming off the bench to provide good minutes as the Tigers have started off the abbreviated 2020-21 season 2-1 following their loss to Belleville East 48-37 Feb. 11 at Lucco-Jackson Gym.

It was a tough loss for Edwardsville, as the Lancers went on a 7-0 run at the end of the third quarter, a run that turned the momentum around and helped spark East to the win. The Tigers, in one of the team's trademarks, kept battling to the end, and never gave up.

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"I think we executed everything well, it's just we couldn't hit some shots in the late third quarter and the fourth quarter."

Earlier in the period, East had some very good looks at the basket, but couldn't hit their shots, while the Tigers were able to connect with theirs. When the Lancers sank a three from the top of the key that sparked the late third quarter run, it gave East the momentum, which they were able to use to pull away for the win.

"We gave them some open shots for sure, I think, in the second quarter and the third quarter," Hampton said, "and they weren't hitting. I definitely think our defense could have been a little bit better, and I think it just caught up to us in the fourth quarter when they started hitting those shots, and they went on that 7-0 run."

Along with the other players on the team, the region and the state, Hampton is very grateful to be back playing for the Tigers.

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"Yeah, for sure," Hampton said. "We just gotta thank God that we're even being able to play. I'm sure that there's some high schools that can't even play right now, so we've got to thank God. Obviously, we'd like to be 3-0, but I think we're going to learn from this loss, and put it behind us, and get better at it these next couple of practices and be ready for our next opponents."

As with many players, Hampton was very excited to hear that basketball got the go-ahead to get started, and was raring to go.

"Oh, it was great," Hampton said. "I was excited for sure. It's just great to be back in the school, and competing with all your teammates against other players. It's great to be back in this atmosphere."

Although the season is only a week old, Hampton isn't sure about team or individual goals, but knows the Tigers will be one of the better teams in the SWC.

"Not really," Hampton said. "This was just a tough loss, but we're going to try to be the best team in the conference, and win the remainder of the games."

As the season progresses, Hampton and his teammates will take things one day at a time, and strive to be the best they can be.

"For sure," Hampton said. "We're ready."

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