After having a cyst removed from her spine at Lutheran General Hospital last Thursday, Morgan Harris used a pillow for her chair while sitting in class this week.
There was nothing soft about her game on Tuesday night.
The Hersey standout senior guard scored 25 points to help lead the Huskies to an exciting 73-68 overtime victory over Mother McAuley in the opening round of the inaugural Hoffman Estates Thanksgiving Tournament.
"The doctor told me as long as you can handle the pain, you can play," said Harris, who practiced only once in the last five days. "So I didn't know what would happen."
What happened was a typically superb game from the all-area guard, who was 11-of-15 at the free throw line.
The Huskies led most of the way but McAuley junior guard Molly O'Malley (game-high 28 points) hit her eighth 3-pointer to put the Mighty Macs ahead 65-64 with 37.6 seconds left in regulation.
Hersey junior Annie Korff made the second of 2 free throws moments later and the game went to OT tied at 65.
Hersey and Mother McAuley have met for years at the Maine West Tip-Off Classic which ended a long run this season.
"Our games against Mother McAuley are always close," said Huskies veteran coach Mary Fendley. "We've had so many 1-point games with them and even overtimes. This was a great way to start the season."
The Huskies started overtime with a 14-foot jumper in the lane by 6-foot sophomore Maggie Berigan.
McAuley tied it at 67 and took the lead at 68-67 on a free throw by Raven Willis.
But Hersey got the lead for good when senior Renee Poulos hit a pair of free throws with 52.1 seconds left.
Poulos then grabbed a deflected ball with 44.5 seconds left as McAuley had trouble breaking the press.
With 42.6 seconds left, freshman Claire Gritt calmly made 2 free throws for a 71-68 lead.
After the teams traded turnovers, McAuley missed a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 16 seconds left and Harris was fouled.
She made 1-of-2 free throws with 13. 1 seconds left and Berigan added another free throw with 9.3 seconds to seal the verdict.
Poulos finished with 13 rebounds while Berigan had 10.
"I thought posts did a real nice job in the second half," Fendley said. "Maggie and Renee really stepped up."
The 5-9 Gritt made quite a freshman debut with 15 points, including a key 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.
Poulos and Korff each had 8 points while Berigan added 6.
Freshman Kelly Weyhrich and junior Juliette Vainisi 5 each added 5 points in their varsity debuts. They each had 3-pointers.
Gritt's putback with 2:22 left in regulation gave Hersey a 64-57 lead before coach Ashley Luke Clanton's Mighty Macs scored 8 of the next 9 points to get the game to OT.