Maesyn Benjamin is a budding super sub for Hersey's girls basketball team.
On Friday night, the 5-foot-7 junior guard helped the Huskies earn a super win.
With first place in the Mid-Suburban East on the line, Benjamin came off the bench, as she always does, and tossed home a game-high 16 points to help Hersey past visiting Rolling Meadows 56-44 at the Carter Gymnasium in Arlington Heights.
In Hersey's last game, Benjamin scored 6 of her 8 points in the final quarter which helped the Huskies post a win over Evanston.
Friday's win gave the Huskies (15-2, 4-0) a one-game lead over Meadows (11-6, 3-1) in the East.
It also gave Huskies coach Mary Fendley reason to smile over the fact she has one of the top reserves in the league.
A reserve who is really enjoying her role.
"I feel like it's my position on the team," said Benjamin who started on the River Trails Middle School team and Hersey's freshman 'A' team before becoming a varsity sub last winter as a sophomore.
"My coaches (Fendley and assistant Julia Barthel) always say we all have a role on the team and I feel like mine is coming off the bench for the starters and allowing them to play to their full potential and be able to play their hardest. I really love it. I think it's a great team experience."
After senior Gina Miklasz' 3-point play made it 6-4 with 5:03 to play in the first quarter, Hersey never experienced a deficit.
The Huskies built the lead to 15-8 when Miklasz assisted on Benjamin's driving lay in with 1:57 left in the first period.
Meadows drew back to within 15-12, thanks to Melissa Spiwak's soft 8-footer off the glass and 2 free throws by her sister Melissa with 58 seconds left.
The Huskies led 18-15 after one period but extended the lead to 28-19 with a 10-4 run that included the first of four 3-pointers by Benjamin.
Meadows made another surge -- getting 2 free throws by Morgan Campagna, one by Clare Preissing and a 16-footer from Melissa Spiwak -- to close to within 28-24.
But that's as close as the visitors would get.
Two free throws by senior Kelly Weyhrich and a 3-pointer by Benjamin made it 33-24 at intermission.
"It was so nice to get this win," Benjamin said. "We've been building up to this week and it's been stressful knowing the way Meadows play. We had to learn to play helpside defense and position ourselves well."
The Huskies were in an unfamiliar position early when Weyhrich picked her second foul less than three minutes not the game. The Miklasz saw limited time in the second and third quarters with foul trouble.
"But Maesyn stepped up and Katie McGrath gave us a lot of good minutes off the bench," Fendley said. "Both McGraths (Erin, who started) did a real nice job with post play."
Weyhrich returned to finish with 10 points and hand out 4 assists.
Fendley brought the senior back on the floor to start the second quarter.
"After sitting out that first quarter, I thought Kelly did a great job coming back and taking over the team for us," Fendley said. "Right when she got back in she hit a 3-pointer (for 21-15 lead to start second quarter).
"She kept her composure and has really run the show for us this season. She has been a fantastic point guard."
Miklasz scored all 12 of her points in the first half, including 8 in the first quarter. Classmate Claire Gritt also reached double figures with 10 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists.
"We didn't have Claire on the floor all the time because she is not 100 percent from an injury," Fendley said. "She still got a double-double and we were still able to go on an 8-0 run without her on the floor."
Carly Cooper continues to stand out defensively. She drew the tough assignment on all-area guard Kyra Spiwak, who scored 12 points.
"That's is the second game in a short time she has guarded a top 3-pointer shooter (Margaret Whitley of Geneva) and held them to one 3-pointer combined," Fendley said. "Her defense might go unnoticed but her teammates know how vital it is."
Katherine Nolan added 9 points for Meadows followed by Alexa Davis (8), Melissa Spiwak (7) and Campagna (5).
"We weren't playing together as a team," Campagna said. "Hersey showed that it wanted it more. The next time we play (at Meadows on Feb. 3) we can't let them get as many offensive rebounds. We've got to stay together as a team and play as hard as them."
"Hersey outplayed us in every way," said Mustangs coach Ryan Kirkorsky. "Hersey is a great team and consistently made the plays throughout the game."