Hersey's 3-point surge sinks Buffalo Grove
If advertising icon Captain Obvious had been in attendance at Ken Carter Gym for Friday's Buffalo Grove-Hersey game in Arlington Heights, he might have said that a successfully made 3-point field goal attempt is only worth 3 points.
Less apparent is the cumulative effect of several of them in a row.
A second-quarter trio of 3s made by the host Huskies over a span of 1:39 decided this Mid-Suburban East boys basketball contest in Hersey's favor against Buffalo Grove 63-48.
The Huskies (6-4, 2-1) saw an 18-10 second period advantage shrink to only a 2-point lead thanks to a 6-0 run by Buffalo Grove.
Following a Michael Lelito putback for 2 of his 14 points came the game-turning triple trifecta by the home team. It began with back-to-back 3s by 6-foot-2 senior forward Zach Cooper with assists by Joe Coffaro and John Rasmussen at 4:56 and 4:16, respectively that pushed the Hersey lead to double-digits at 26-16.
Lelito capped off the 3-point run with the first of his 2 field goals from beyond the arc, and Hersey led 30-16 with 2:09 to go in the opening half. A 6-3 finish over the final 2:09 would put the Huskies comfortably ahead at 36-19 heading into the half.
"It was nice to not only see us making the shots, but running the offense," Hersey coach Steve Messer said. "I liked how we were sharing the basketball and how we ran the floor this evening. It's a result of what goes in from our practices."
For Coffaro, a 5-10 junior guard in his second season on the varsity, led all scorers with 17 points. He likes to give credit to both his coach and a graduated starter from last season's MSL East championship team, point guard Max Heeren.
"Coach has talking to me about playing confident and making smart plays on the court and using last year's experience to become a better leader," Coffaro said. "Having had the opportunity to play with Max and see him handle things gave me a look at how to get to the lane, how to get other people involved in the offense and more importantly how to trust one another."
"He's a great kid," said Messer. "A talented player who, if he can continue to refine his game, could be a very special player."
Buffalo Grove coach Keith Peterson faulted his team for failing to do the little things.
"It says a lot about the lack of recognition that we had during that run." he said. "While we played hard, we failed to box out and take charges on the defensive end, and on the other side of the court we failed to set screens and get boards off the glass. Those things add up."
Buffalo Grove (3-6, 1-2) was led in scoring by 6-foot sophomore guard John Vaselaney with 11 points, including his own trio of treys. The Bison enter their 2 p.m. tournament debut at Wheeling against Waukegan looking for better consistency.
"Win, lose, or tie, I'm looking for us to compete for 32 minutes," Peterson said. "If we can do that, it would give us some momentum to take into the second half of the season."
Hersey once again makes its annual holiday trek to the Pekin Tournament where the Huskies face the host school on Dec. 28 at 6:30 p.m.
"It is always a great time for all of us out there," Messer said. "It gives us a chance to play four games against teams that we don't face up here during the season. It gives our players a chance to experience something new and different."