2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 1/18/2014 9:17 PM

Hersey edges Meadows

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By John Juettner
Daily Herald Correspondent

There were less than 30 seconds left. Hersey had possession, down 2 points on the road against Mid-Suburban East rival Rolling Meadows.

The Huskies worked the ball around the perimeter, and passed up two relatively open looks. Then, Hersey guard Max Heeren found a seam in the Mustangs' defense. Rolling Meadows' defenders collapsed on the driving Heeren, leaving fellow guard Payton Haas wide open at the top of the key.

Haas was not going to pass up this shot, and his 3-pointer hit all net to give Hersey a 48-47 lead.

But that was not all. There were still 12.5 seconds on the clock. Hersey still needed one stop.

This time Rolling Meadows guard A.J. Aluquin drove the lane as the seconds ticked down, his running shot attempt was blocked. It seemed like there could be no time left as the ball bounced on the court.

Mustang guard Pat Kramp knew there was still a tick or two left on the clock. He hustled for the loose ball, and released a floater from the free throw line.

The ball hung in the air for longer than seemed possible. It looked like it was going to hit all net just like Haas' shot.

It did not, catching the back of the iron and ricocheting out as the buzzer sounded.

Final score: Hersey 48, Rolling Meadows 47 in a game that saw the two teams never separated by more than 3 points at the end of any quarter.

"I was wide open," Haas, who scored 12 points, all on 3-pointers, said. "It was a nice pass. I thought it was time to hit it. We had to hit it. We had to get it done. If I missed we could have got a rebound then put it back up. That's why I took it right there."

"We look for Payton to shoot," senior guard Alex Mueller said. "He's our main guy. We were waiting for the last one, but Payton thought it was time to shoot, and he took it. It's all we needed."

Hersey (6-9, 2-3) only had 29 points as a team going into the fourth quarter. The Huskies picked up their pace a bit, and played with more urgency. As a result, they scored 19 points in the final frame.

Mueller led the charge with 7 of his game-high 17 points coming in the fourth, and Heeren scored all 7 of his points in the final quarter.

The Huskies started the fourth quarter on a 6-0 to turn a 3-point deficit into a 3-point lead.

"The start of the quarter is really what we focus on," Mueller said. "We try to come out fast and then work from there. Going into the fourth quarter, we had a talk about that. That is the time to take the game, so we went out and we really took it."

There was still one final possession where Hersey needed a stop. While Hersey did get the blocked shot it needed, it did not secure possession, leaving one final chance for Rolling Meadows (6-10, 2-3)

"That kid (Kramp) deserves a basket, and deserves a win because he hustled," Hersey coach Steve Messer said.

Kramp led Rolling Meadows in scoring with 16 points. Senior forward Matt Dolan had 11 points and 6 rebounds, and senior guard Charlie Metzger scored 7 points.

"Overall, for the game, I like the way we battled and competed," Rolling Meadows coach Kevin Katovich said. "We just made too many mental mistakes. It's the second week in a row that we've shot ourselves in the foot with mental mistakes. Not physical mistakes. Mental mistakes.

"I feel bad for our guys because they are working hard. I wish they could do some more of the mental things that we need to do a better job of. But we'll keep working at it."

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