It was a special day for the Hersey girls basketball team.
First, the players shared their time with students at the Kirk School, part of the Northwest Suburban Special Education Organization, in Palatine.
Then they shared the basketball at the Glenbrook South Titan Dome in Glenview where they posted a 37-32 victory over the Titans, who came into the game with a 10-2 record and are top-seeded in the Wheaton North Tournament next week.
Like they did a few weeks ago at the Jean Walker Field House in Mt. Prospect, the Huskies got off to a superb start on Tuesday.
They led 21-3 midway through the first quarter and 25-7 at the break.
Hersey then held off a valiant comeback back by South before prevailing by 5 points to boost their record over .500 at 6-5.
The home team rallied to within 30-25 with 6:03 left in the game.
However, senior Meg Cerniglia (5 points) and junior Morgan Harris (11 points) hit back-to-back 3-pointers to stretch the Huskies' lead back to 11.
"When we were making that run, they had those two girls hit big 3's," Weissenstein said. "And I was kind of hoping they'd shoot 3s at that point but they hit them on us. I thought Hersey did a real good job. I give them all the credit."
The Huskies deserved extra credit for their emotional day.
"We were dancing and talking to those kids," Cerniglia said about the annual trip to the Kirk Center as part of Hersey's Service Over Self program directed by Mark Gunther. "We talked about how everyone has a gift and then we wanted to show ours.
"And we played so well. It felt so good to be able to come back and be able to use our gift. It was a nice transition going from there (Kirk Center) and then having a great night of basketball."
"It was a blessing to share the day with those kids during the day and appreciate how lucky we are," said Hersey coach Mary Fendley. "The impact of the day extended itself to the game tonight."
The Huskies' defense made its impact felt, limiting Glenbrook South to 1 free throw by senior Teigan Flaws in the first 10 minutes.
Harris hit a pair of 3-pointers, senior Casey Weyhrich had one and senior Ashley Raulli scored 6 points as Hersey took a 15-1 lead after one quarter.
"I thought it was like our Prospect game," said Weyhrich (7 points), referring to the 31-3 lead the Huskies had in the second quarter. "We just had the momentum. We knew they were the top seed at our upcoming tournament. We just wanted to stick with them."
Instead the Huskies separated themselves from the hosts.
Raulli scored 6 more points in the second quarter, finishing with a team-high 12 points.
"Ashley's first half was great," Fendley said. "She was getting open shots against their 1-3-1 defense. Our guards were finding her and she was knocking them down."
Meanwhile, the only two baskets South scored in the first half were layups by senior Molly McDonagh, who finished with a game-high 18 points.
The Huskies held South to its fewest points of the season.
"We weren't ready to play," Weissenstein said. "Hersey came out with intensity and did a great job. In the second half, we played with intensity. We competed on every possession which we didn't do in the first half."
The Huskies' superb defense came from a zone defense.
"We haven't played zone that much," said Fendley, who also got some big defensive plays once again from Erica Hill, who prevented a break-away layup late in the first half with a blocked shot. "I still saw some glitches in it but our communication and talking was so good it kind of compensated for it."