Hersey needed to get a fast start against Wheeling in Arlington Heights Saturday night.
They received just that from junior guard Payton Haas.
Haas scored 14 of his team-high 17 points in the first half in leading the Huskies to a 63-55 win over the Wildcats in Mid-Suburban East play. The win avenges a loss at Wheeling in December.
"I was looking to push the ball and get to the rim," said Haas. "I give credit to my teammates. They got me good looks by setting screens and getting me good passes in good position. It was my best first half that I had this season. This was our third straight conference win, and we want to finish the rest of the season strong."
Haas scored 7 points in the first quarter, Alex Mueller (12 points) had 6 and Mike Fuerst (12 points) contributed 5 as the Huskies led 21-13 after the first quarter.
Wheeling's Jeremy Stephani, who funneled in 27 points, scored 10 points in the second quarter as the Wildcats briefly took a 30-28 lead just before halftime. Haas connected on a 3-point basket as the half ended to help the Huskies regain the advantage by a point.
"That basket by Payton helped us get the momentum back. It carried over to the third quarter" said Hersey coach Steve Messer. "We had some defensive lapses in the second quarter for a short time and Wheeling got back into the game. Haas has had a real good 2014 for us. Since the beginning of the month his play is much improved. He's stronger on both sides of the ball and he's starting to show leadership. He and the other players have just been playing well."
The Huskies (7-9, 3-3) received some balanced scoring in the third quarter and were able to build a 48-41 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Leading 55-50 with under two minutes left, Mueller scored on a lay up and free throws by Grant Burke and Fuerst extended the lead to 59-50.
Wheeling (8-11, 2-4) countered with 2 free throws by Stephani and one by Ola Arogundade (7 points) to cut the lead to 59-53 with :48 left.
Josh Mailloux's basket for Hersey with :38 left sealed Wheeling's fate.
Max Heeren contributed 8 points for the Huskies.
"Hersey had a good game plan," said Wheeling coach Anthony Como. Heeren played a good second half and Haas had a good first half for them. We didn't play good defense in the first quarter. In the MSL you have to play defense all four quarters. They were able to get the ball inside too easily and that hurt us.
"I was proud of Jeremy's efforts. Tonight again showed what a terrific player he is."
Wheeling received a bit of good news from Arogundade, who made his first appearance of the season.
"Ola, going forward, is going to help us down the stretch," said Como. "He's a competitor and he will help with our depth."