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Hersey's girls basketball team was patient Friday night.
Rolling Meadows guard Jackie Kemph was not.
The 2012-13 Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year dashed relentlessly to the basket for 13 of her game-high 27 points in the third quarter as the state's No. 3-ranked team in Class 4A erased a 2-point halftime deficit for a 58-45 win at the Ken Carter Gymnasium in Arlington Heights.
The disciplined Huskies, who made several passes on each possession, were able to take a 27-25 lead at the break when junior Annie Korff hit a 16-footer with three seconds left.
But the high-flying Mustangs were able to outscore the hosts 16-4 in the third quarter when Kemph often whirled her way through the defense for a 6 field goals and a free throw.
"The third quarter was all about Kemph," said Hersey coach Mary Fendley, whose team made it an entertaining contest before the Mustangs finally pulled away for good in the final three minutes.
"Her third quarter was as good an individual performance we've competed against," the veteran coach added. "It's not fair to ask just one kid to guard her. By the same token, if you ask for help, you're leaving one of their other terrific players open."
Senior Alexis Glasgow added 13 points while Jenny Vliet and Ashley Montanez each added 7 as Meadows snapped a nine-game winning streak by the Huskies (16-2, 3-2), who won the Hoffman Estates and Wheaton North tournaments this season.
Meadows improved to 17-2 and 5-0 in the Mid-Suburban East where they own a 2-game lead over Hersey and Prospect (16-3, 3-2).
"It's definitely two contrasting styles of play (between Hersey and Meadows)," said Mustangs coach Ryan Kirkorsky, whose team's only losses are to state powers Whitney Young and Montini. "That's what Hersey does best -- runs plays. And everyone can score for them.
"We just talked at half about having more passion on defense. Give credit to Hersey. They're a good team and played well. I don't think we played real well in the first half."
But Kemph was there to give the Mustangs the spark they needed right after the break.
After Glasgow's short bank shot tied the game at 27-27, Kemph scored Meadows' next 13 points and the Mustangs led 41-31 after three quarters.
"As a team, we just put a lot into defense and that led to a lot of the fastbreaks," Kemph said. "We have so many great players that when I have a chance to score I know it will just help them later."
Kemph also helped herself with 5 rebounds a few which took coast-to-coast for baskets.
"They (Hersey) definitely have their own pace which works well for them," said Kemph, who also dished off 3 assists. "I think it only helps us to see such a well-disciplined team. It is something we'll have to deal with and this will help us down the road."
Vliet helped the Mustangs on the board with her 13 rebounds while Morgan Harris pulled down 10 for Hersey, including a team-high 19 points.
The Huskies senior guard connected for five 3-pointers while her teammates Korff (12 points), Casey Weyhrich and Juliette Vainisi each had one.
The Huskies made 4 of their eight 3-pointers in the second half which helped them stay within striking range.
"I'm really proud of my girls," Fendley said. "I knew we had a chance to win. I know how good Meadows is. They are among the elite teams in the state and we are not in that group. But that doesn't mean we aren't going to compete. I just hope the girls have fun."
Fendley also got offensive scoring from Renee Poulos, Claire Grit and Maggie Berrigan.
"It's my 16th season and in all those years I've had three Division players," Fendley added, giving some perspective.
"They have three on one team. So it's really a talented team. We knew that and fought as hard as we could. We are not going to give up. We'll try again next time."
Also scoring for Meadows was senior guard Sami Kay, who scored 5 points in the game's first three minutes.
"They (Hersey) did a great job running their sets," Vliet said. "They are a good team and they're young so they're going to be really good in the future. It's good that we saw a game like this and we can learn from it.
"Usually we'll have third quarters like we did. We've just got to make our first quarters like our third."