During his spare time, Hersey junior guard Max Heeren contributes as an assistant coach for the Hersey feeder program.
That program's participants -- sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders -- were on hand to watch the Huskies host Glenbrook North on Tuesday night in Arlington Heights.
Heeren led by example, starting a decisive 10-0 run to start the fourth quarter as Hersey opened a 33-23 lead with 4:24 left in the game. The Huskies went on to hold off the Spartans 39-34 in the nonconference matchup.
"It was a nice win for us," said Heeren, who scored 6 of his 8 points in the fourth quarter. "We got after them with our defense and that led to some transition baskets for us. We showed more effort and energy in the fourth quarter."
Tied at 23 following a 3 from the Spartans' Michael Keane (8 points) with 7:00 left in the game, Hersey made its run.
Heeren hit for 2 free throws with 6:23 left to put Hersey (9-14) in front for good. Alex Mueller, who led Hersey with 12 points, scored on a assist from Heeren. Heeren hit for 2 more free throws before Mike Fuerst (6 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks) after a steal by sophomore Joe Coffaro.
"We started to show more urgency about midway through the third quarter," Hersey said assistant coach Chad Freeman. "With that and our defense, it created some offense for us. Even though we created a lot of turnovers (20) we still grinded it out. That's what good about these players."
Hersey head coach Steve Messer was suspended for the game after picking up two technical fouls in the Huskies' previous game.
The Spartans (7-16) mounted a challenge with a 8-2 run that saw Pat Hamilton (11 pts) hit for two 3 pointers to cut the gap to 35-31 with 2:48 left.
Mueller countered with basket for Hersey. Cameron Liss hit 1 of 2 free throws for Glenbrook North after a smart foul by Heeren prevented a basket.
Hamilton hit for a layup with 1:12 left to make the score 37-34. But Mueller converted, thanks to a steal and assist from Payton Haas, to seal the win.
"We usually shoot threes better than we did tonight," said Glenbrook North coach Dave Weber of his squad's 4-for-18 performance from beyond the arc. "We had some good open looks, but we just didn't make them. We we got the ball inside; they blocked some of those attempts."
And Heeren showed the next generation of Hersey basketball how it's done.
"When Max is focused he can really be a great leader and defense," said Freeman.
"I work with the feeder program just like my brother Nick did last year," said Heeren. "I want to keep the family tradition going. We work on fundamentals and defense. We want to get these players started early on the right way to do things."