Hersey boys basketball coach Steve Messer has been disappointed at times this season with the Huskies' ability to close out games.
"We would sustain good intensity for the most part, but things would slip away from us," said Messer. "Tonight we finished the game like I knew we could."
The Huskies upended Mid-Suburban East Division leader Prospect on Friday night at Jean Walker Fieldhouse 63-56.
Prospect still leads the division with a 6-1 mark and fell to 12-7 overal. Hersey improved to 6-11 and 3-4 in conference play.
"We did not take Hersey lightly," said Prospect coach John Camardella. "We didn't play so well, and that can happen. We knew that they had some offensive weapons and they played well. I was impressed."
Junior Mike Fuerst (14 points, 6 rebounds) and senior guard Alex Sutrinaitis (14 points) played key roles in the Huskies' upset. Max Heeren scored 6 of his 10 points off the bench in the fourth quarter.
Tied at 29-29 at halftime, the Huskies began hitting from the outside, connecting on four 3-point baskets.
The Knights led 37-34 with 5:16 left in the quarter before Hersey used an 11-3 run to lead 48-40 at quarter's end.
Prospect scored the first 7 points of the period, highlighted by 5 points from the Knights leading scorer for the night Bobby Frasco (17 points).
"In other games that may have rattled us," said Messer, "but we hung in there."
Hersey forged ahead for good at 56-55 with 2:24 left in the game a free throw by Fuerst. Alex Mueller hit 2 free throws and Heeren 1 for a 59-55 lead.
A free throw from Mike Hougton (12 points, 7 rebounds) gave Prospect its last point of the night with a free throw with :25 left.
Fuerst finished the game with a basket on an assist from Michael Messer, and then 2 free throws.
"We had a great week of practice, "said Fuerst, whose father Jeff starred for Prospect in the 1980s. "We knew that when they made the run at us to start the fourth quarter that we had to play strong with high energy. We made our free throws down the stretch (8 of 11) and made some defensive stops. This is a big win for us. We now have to keep building off of this win and finish the year strong."
"Mike has steadily become more offensive-minded," said Messer. "He's tough mentally and he's our best defender. He pulled down 4 rebounds in the fourth quarter which prevented Prospect from getting second shots."