St. Viator's big second half sinks Hersey

  • Hersey's Jason Schmidt, right, dishes the ball as he maneuvers around St. Viator's Jeremiah Hernandez on Tuesday night in Cahill Gymnasium at St. Viator.

      Hersey's Jason Schmidt, right, dishes the ball as he maneuvers around St. Viator's Jeremiah Hernandez on Tuesday night in Cahill Gymnasium at St. Viator. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • St. Viator's Peter Lambesis dunks the ball against Hersey during varsity basketball Tuesday night in Cahill Gymnasium at St. Viator.

      St. Viator's Peter Lambesis dunks the ball against Hersey during varsity basketball Tuesday night in Cahill Gymnasium at St. Viator. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • St. Viator's Jeremiah Hernandez, left, encounters Hersey's Joe Nugent en route to the hoop during varsity basketball Tuesday night in Cahill Gymnasium at St. Viator.

      St. Viator's Jeremiah Hernandez, left, encounters Hersey's Joe Nugent en route to the hoop during varsity basketball Tuesday night in Cahill Gymnasium at St. Viator. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • St. Viator's Peter Lambesis, center, secures a rebound ahead of Hersey's Davis Belford, left, and Joe Nugent, right, during varsity basketball Tuesday night in Cahill Gymnasium at St. Viator.

      St. Viator's Peter Lambesis, center, secures a rebound ahead of Hersey's Davis Belford, left, and Joe Nugent, right, during varsity basketball Tuesday night in Cahill Gymnasium at St. Viator. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Hersey's Rocco Ronzio looks for the hoop during on Tuesday night in Cahill Gymnasium at St. Viator.

      Hersey's Rocco Ronzio looks for the hoop during on Tuesday night in Cahill Gymnasium at St. Viator. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • St. Viator's Jeremiah Hernandez cruises to the hoop against Hersey on Tuesday night in Cahill Gymnasium at St. Viator.

      St. Viator's Jeremiah Hernandez cruises to the hoop against Hersey on Tuesday night in Cahill Gymnasium at St. Viator. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • St. Viator's Peter Lambesis gets pumped up following a first-half dunk against Hersey on Tuesday night in Cahill Gymnasium at St. Viator.

      St. Viator's Peter Lambesis gets pumped up following a first-half dunk against Hersey on Tuesday night in Cahill Gymnasium at St. Viator. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Hersey's Jace Coffaro does his best to hang on to the ball on Tuesday night in Cahill Gymnasium at St. Viator.

      Hersey's Jace Coffaro does his best to hang on to the ball on Tuesday night in Cahill Gymnasium at St. Viator. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • St. Viator's Connor Kochera takes a jumper against Hersey on Tuesday night in Cahill Gymnasium at St. Viator.

      St. Viator's Connor Kochera takes a jumper against Hersey on Tuesday night in Cahill Gymnasium at St. Viator. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • St. Viator's Jeremiah Hernandez grabs the tip-off to begin play against Hersey on Tuesday night in Cahill Gymnasium at St. Viator.

      St. Viator's Jeremiah Hernandez grabs the tip-off to begin play against Hersey on Tuesday night in Cahill Gymnasium at St. Viator. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

 
By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 12/12/2017 10:52 PM

Jeremiah Hernandez turned a neighborhood battle into his own private playground Tuesday in Arlington Heights.

The St. Viator junior erupted for 21 of his game-high 25 points in the second half as the host Lions pulled away from Hersey 67-56.

 

"In the first half, I wasn't as aggressive as I could be," said Hernandez, who had just 4 free throws in the first half. "In the second half my coaches said they were going to get me the ball more. I talked with my teammates and said that we had to get more stops and more run-outs, and we were able to do that."

Hernandez used those plays to help St. Viator (7-1) surge ahead of a stout Hersey team.

With the Lions leading 42-39 with 2:42 left in the third quarter, Hernandez went to work. After a basket by teammate Treyvon Calvin, Hernandez, who was being scouted by Loyola-Chicago, scored the next 18 points for Viator as it extended the lead to 62-47 with 5:09 left to play.

"He did a nice job of being patient and letting the game come to him," St. Viator coach Quin Hayes said. "He was a little frustrated at times. He stayed within our offense. Our guys got him the ball. He took over and put that gap between us and them."

Hersey (2-6) used some long-distance shooting against a tight 1-2-2 defense to keep the Huskies close for nearly three quarters. With Rocco Ronzio and Ryan Verhulst, who transferred this year from Viator to Hersey, both nailing four 3s, Hersey wouldn't go away.

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"These are games we need to win," said Hayes, whose team host conference rival and state power Benet on Friday. "We always know that Hersey is going to be tough. I am very happy the way our guys responded to the way Hersey came out."

Hersey stymied the Lions at times during the first half. Twice the Huskies led in the second quarter thanks to 3s by Verhulst and Ronzio as Hersey converted 6 of 12 shots from outside the arc.

But Viator was able to take a 30-26 halftime lead thanks to the play of Treyvon Calvin (16 points), Matt Doersching (11) and Peter Lambesis (10).

"I have been playing these guys since feeder, so it is nice to get the win this one last time," Lambesis said. "They shot the lights out against us in the first half. But I thought we adjusted pretty well."

Viator took away the 3-point shot from Hersey in the second half, with the Huskies attempting just 3 in the third quarter and none in the fourth quarter until the final 90 seconds of the game.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"They shot it well," Hayes said. "We made some adjustments at halftime and then we made that run in the third quarter to give us a little bit of a cushion."

Ronzio led Hersey with 14 points while Joe Nugent came off the bench to score 13 points and Verhulst finished with 12 points.

"I thought we played a little more cohesively," Hersey coach Steve Messer said. "I think we are still some turnovers away, and some defensive rebounding away, from being a good team and knocking off good teams. But it was a step forward in all aspects."

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