St. Patrick finished Saturday's nonconference boys basketball game at Hersey the same way it started it: with rock-solid defense.
The Shamrocks opened up a 18-5 lead after one quarter and held on to a 60-48 win at Ken Carter gymnasium. In the fourth quarter Hersey scored 9 points.
"We played well on defense," said St. Patrick coach Mike Bailey. "The guards shared the ball well, and when you do that, good things happen on offense."
Guard Royale Ewing led the Shamrocks, now 15-8 and winners of 11 of their last 13, with 15 points. Loren Horton scored 13 and Parish McCullum had 12 -- but 10 of his came in the second half when the visitors from Chicago were trying to squelch Hersey rallies.
"The coaches have been on me to play better and respond," said McCullum whot hit 6 of 9 shots. "We've really been playing strong lately."
"We were a little intimidated at the start of the game," said Hersey coach Steve Messer, who saw his team fall to 11-14. "We didn't come out with much energy. We commited too many turnovers (8 in the first quarter) early in the game."
Ewing scored 10 of his points in the first half as the Shamrocks built a 33-17 lead at the break.
Sean Reszotko and Justin Jobski energized Hersey in the third quarter. The Huskies pulled within 4 points at 40-36 following Reszotko's putback with 2:18 left. Reszotko scored 10 of his 20 in the quarter and Jobski 6 of his 8. Reszotko finished with 4 3s.
"We started to attack the rim better in the quarter and that was good to see," said Messer. "A lot of our shots just wouldn't fall."
With 3:03 left and Hersey trailing the Shamrocks 54-45, Ewing came up a big steal on an inbounds play and made a layup. Freshman Nicholas Coleman followed with a basket at the 1:26 mark for a 58-45 Shamrocks lead.
"He's had an outstanding second half of the season," said Bailey. "He can fill a stat sheet. He'll have 4 to 5 assists, rebounds and steals. We knew Hersey would play physical and could not let them get many easy shots."