2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 12/29/2013 12:12 AM

Hersey rides fast start at Wheaton N.

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No gigantic rallies were required this night.

A huge start was all Hersey's girls basketball team needed en route to a 57-40 victory over Hinsdale Central in the championship game of the 30th annual Wheaton North Bill Neibch Falcon Classic on Saturday night.

The Huskies (14-1) broke out to an 8-0 advantage midway through the first quarter, extended the lead to 18-7 in the second quarter and never looked back while winning the 16-team tourney for the fifth time under coach Mary Fendley since 2002.

Unlike the night before, when they had to make up an 18-point deficit in the final six minutes against Lyons Township and then won in 65-60 overtime, the Huskies made it look much easier against the six-time tourney champion Red Devils (9-4).

"We started a little slow on Friday night but this game we came out fired up," said Morgan Harris, the Huskies' high scorer with 23 points, including many at the end of Hersey's transition game. "We didn't want that to happen again.

"The way we won on Friday was the best feeling ever. We were more excited after that win than tonight. It really takes a 'team' to come back like we did (against Lyons)."

That "team" picked up right where it left off from the final 10 minutes against Lyons on Friday.

"It was almost anticlimactic after playing the two tight games (58-53 win over Glenbard South on Thursday) before this," Fendley said. "It was nice to have breathing room this game."

All-tourney selections Annie Korff (15 points, 9 rebounds) and Claire Gritt (7 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists) were the next top scorers for Hersey, which led by 10 at half and never let the Red Devils closer than 8 in the second half.

The lead grew to 42-24 late in the third quarter when Hersey went on a 7-0 run with 6 straight points from Harris and a free throw by Korff.

"When we had the lead, we just kept saying we can't stop playing," Korff said. "Because we knew what happened the night before when we came back. We couldn't let them do that to us."

Hersey's last championship in the tourney came in 2010.

That team included two sisters of current Huskies -- Kathryn Korff and Casey Weyhrich, whose freshman sister Kelly had 6 assists, 6 rebounds and 2 points on Saturday.

Coincidently, Kathryn and Casey were in the stands Saturday.

"Regardless of any game or tournament in which I watched my sister play at Hersey, I just knew I wanted to be playing here one day like she did," Annie Korff said. "It's a feeling I can't explain. And I've got to give it to all my teammates because each one is so significant to the team."

Other significant role players for Hersey on Saturday were Renee Poulos (4 points, 5 rebounds), Maggie Berigan (6 points, 8 rebounds) and Juliette Vainisi (4 rebounds).

Gabrielle Rush had a game-high 25 points for the Red Devils.

"She's hard to guard but I thought Annie (Korff) did a nice job of wearing her out," Fendley said.

"Hersey did a great job," said Hinsdale Central coach Tom McKenna, who also coached many games against Fendley when he was the coach at St. Ignatius. "Mary is a fantastic coach and they just beat us.

"Some our kids who have been helping out with the scoring didn't really do that this game."

McKenna was also without his team's "emotional and spiritual leader" leader Maddie Roglich (10 ppg, 6 rebounds), who suffered an ACL injury on Friday.

"She is the only four-year starter I have ever had as a head coach in 27 years," McKenna said. "And I've never lost two girls to season-ending injuries in the same season (senior Megan Lord was sidelined early in the season."

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