Elk Grove's offense erupted in the fourth quarter as the Grens cruised past Hersey 73-54 Friday in Elk Grove.
Leading 49-41 after three quarters, the Grenadiers' Anthony Bianchini nailed his second trey of the game to open the quarter. With that energy, Elk Grove (12-14, 6-4) scored 9 unanswered points on its way to a 17-2 run to blow open a tight game in the Mid-Suburban East.
"Anthony really gave us a lot of energy at that moment," Elk Grove coach Anthony Furman said. "We had to take their punches and respond when we needed to.
"We ran good plays and we were big on the boards"
Elk Grove got off to a great start thanks to the play of guard Kishan Patel.
"They (Hersey) are always up on you," said Patel, who had 18 points, including three 3-pointers. "So we came in looking to attack the basket or get dump-offs."
Elk Grove led 20-15 early in the second quarter when Hersey (11-13, 4-6) rallied behind the play of Alex Sutrinaitis (13 points), Max Heeren (9 points) and Mike Fuerst (7 points, 12 rebounds). The Huskies rallied to tie the game at 22 on a basket by Sutrinaitis with 4:11 left in the first half.
But Elk Grove went hard to the boards, getting second opportunities. The Grens, who held a 40-27 rebounding advantage, closed the half with a 9-2 run to lead 31-24.
"We knew we had to box out," said Amann, who had 16 points and 11 rebounds. "We needed first rebounds because we knew that would be key. And get rebounds on our own misses."
Jake Gatziolis, who didn't start because of a sprained ankle, made the most of his minutes, especially in the third quarter. The 6-foot-5 senior scored 8 of his10 points in the period as the Grenadiers led 49-41 after three quarters.
"I got the good position on the rebounds," said Gatziolis, who had three offensive rebounds for baskets and finished with 7 rebounds for the game. "That's my job and I was glad I could contribute."
Furman, who was worried about his team's energy coming into the game after a tough loss last week to Prospect was pleased by his team's performance.
"It was our best game of the year," Furman said. "We wanted to do something to leave our mark on conference play and we were able to do that. It is something we can build on heading into the state playoffs."