Hersey overcomes Jacobs

 
By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 11/21/2018 6:31 PM
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Hersey's boys basketball team might want to just skip right from the second quarter to the fourth quarter.

For the second night in row Hersey struggled in the third quarter, only to have an explosive fourth quarter as the Huskies pulled away from Jacobs 56-45 Wednesday in the Ed Molitor Thanksgiving Classic at Palatine.

"We have six coaches on staff and this have been a point of emphasis from each one of them," Hersey coach Austin Scott said. " I think the guys know that too. For them to know it is step one and to do something about it is step two."

Fortunately for Hersey (3-0), the Huskies did not fall behind by 12 points like they did Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Hersey went nearly 7 minutes in the third quarter without a basket. Jacobs (0-2) was then able to cut a 31-22 deficit to pull within 1 at 31-30.

Again, Hersey responded like the previous night.

Rocco Ronzio, who had four 3-pointers for the night, drilled one of those just before the end the third quarter to give the Huskies some breathing room. That ignited a 7-0 run as Hersey led 38-30 on a putback by Jacob Kluczewski.

"We just executed," said Ronzio, who led the Huskies with 17 points. "My teammates set me some screens and I was able to get open and knock down some shots."

Jacobs began to press and double-team the ball, forcing a couple quick turnovers. The Golden Eagles were then able to run off 6 unanswered and closed to 38-36 on a pair of free throws by Jaden Henderson, who led the Eagles with 18 points.

Hersey finally was able to break the pressure. The Huskies went on 9-2 run. Ryan Verhulst, who also had four 3-pointers, began the run with a triple. Ronzio then closed it out with another trey as Hersey began to pull away with a 47-38 lead with 3:32 to play.

"My teammates got me the ball," said Verhulst, who had 3 of his three-pointers in the first quarter and finished with 14 points.

"We have been struggling in the third quarter. I think we may not be ready when we come out after the half, but we will fix that."

Jacobs got within 49-42 before Hersey put the game away with a 7-0 run. It was a good finish for a Hersey team that had played three games in three days.

"These guys have been around," Scott said. "They have taken their lumps. They know how to win and they know how to make winning plays."

Jacobs coach Jimmy Roberts liked his team's effort.

"Our kids they competed and played hard," said Roberts, who has a roster that consists mainly of juniors and sophomores.

"We are not going to say this much longer, but they are kids. We are extremely young. We want to run, but we have to walk first."

Hersey, which will play York on Saturday what will most likely amount to the tournament title game, got 8 points and 12 rebounds from Kluczewski. Davis Belford chipped in 6 points and Matt Hanushewsky had 5 points.

Jacobs got a solid performance from Matt McCoy, one of four seniors on the roster. McCoy scored 15 points thanks to five 3-pointers.

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