Palatine on fire in win over Hersey
Every team would love to open their season like Palatine did Tuesday night.
Playing in the Ed Molitor Thanksgiving Classic in Palatine, the Pirates' boys basketball team came out firing on both ends. With its offense drilling 3-pointers and the defense nearly impenetrable, Palatine rattled off 32 consecutive points and then cruised to a 57-29 win.
"That was a good start," Palatine coach Eric Millstone said. "I thought we came out with some good jump. We knocked some shots down early and all of a sudden kids start to settle in a little bit."
Hersey, which graduated its top eight players from last season, started strong. Brayden Smith hit the game's first basket. But it was all Palatine from there.
Palatine used a trapping 1-2-2 defense to add to its length and agility to force 10 first-quarter turnovers. Meanwhile, Connor May and DJ Dick each nailed a pair of 3-pointers and Bobby Widlowski added a pair of layups as Palatine led 18-2 after one quarter.
The Pirates didn't stop there. They forced 5 more turnovers while keeping Hersey away from the basket and the Huskies missed 8 consecutive shots. Palatine scored another 14 consecutive points before a rebound basket by Hersey's Johnny Ryg made it 32-4 with 2:26 left in the first half.
"I take full responsibility for the lack of their preparation," Hersey coach Austin Scott said. "It was welcome to varsity basketball moment for this group and them individually. For me coaching them too. We have to reassess the way that we do things and we have to reassess how we prepare."
Dick, who finished with 9 points said that having a crowd to cheer them on was a huge difference from last season.
"We have been looking forward to this since the last week in practice," said Dick, who is a senior. "We are so ready to get out there and play another team. We have been waiting for the energy in the building for a year. Last season was a different vibe and tonight it was great to have everyone out there."
Widlwoski, who was diving all over the floor for loose balls, said that his team played great defense.
"We put in a new defense and we have length," Widlowski said. "We aren't that quick. But because of our length, we get tipped balls everywhere. We are jumpy and we can get to anything. We play well together."
Palatine, which had 12 different players score, was led by Connor May, who had 11 points. Dick had 9 points, Grant Dersnah had 7 points and Tyler Swierczek had 6 points.
"Anyone we are going to put out there is going to play hard," Millstone said. "Otherwise, they are not going to be out there. The mark of a good team is are you going to play the right way all the time. And it doesn't matter if you are up by 20 or down 20, there are certain expectations that they need to abide by."
Freshman Jackson Hupp led the Huskies with 8 points.