Hersey tops Maine West for 3rd straight win
Despite going 1-3 over Christmas in Pekin, Hersey's boys basketball team came home on a roll.
The Huskies showed for the third consecutive time after the holiday tournament how far they have traveled with their convincing 66-52 nonconference win over Maine West Tuesday in Des Plaines.
"It is the same guys, but a little progression," Hersey coach Austin Scott said. "I give them all a lot of credit for buying in and continuing to improve and focusing in practice."
Hersey (9-8) got terrific inside play from Jacob Kluczewski. The 6-foot-4 senior, who played down on the block, scored 16 points along with grabbing 12 rebounds and dishing out 6 assists.
"My teammates trusted me," Kluczewski said. "They fed me the ball. I trusted them too when I kicked it back out and they would hit the three, which they were all hitting."
Kluczewski credited the Pekin trip with the Huskies coming together as a team.
"Even though we lost those three games, we started to come together," Kluczewski said. "We spent so much time together and we just bonded."
Matt Hanushewsky, who hit 3 of Hersey's 10 3-pointers, said that he feels that the Pekin trip was a turning point for him and his teammates.
"I think we just all bought in and are playing as a team," said Hanushewsky, who finished with 9 points. "We are taking charges and getting rebounds. We bonded and became a lot closer thanks to that trip."
Both teams played the first quarter at a high pace, combining for eight 3-pointers and a 19-19 tie.
"We all set some good screens and got shooters open," said Hersey's Rocco Ronzio, who had 2 of his three 3-pointers in the first quarter.
Maine West (7-8) led 23-21 early in the second quarter when Hersey turned things up defensively. The Huskies forced 2 turnovers which enabled them to run off 6 unanswered points to surge ahead 27-23 on a basket by Kluczewski.
After a 3-ball by Danny Rice of Maine West, Hersey ran off 9 straight points to close out the half with a 36-26 led. Jason Schmidt and Scott Rogowsk each had steals and layups in the final 30 seconds for the Huskies.
Maine West coach Tom Prokopij said that the 5 Warrior turnovers in the final 3 minutes of the first half helped sink his team.
"That run just got us," Prokopij said. "At the end of the first half, we turned the ball over and they went on a run and were up 10 at half. We were just standing around too much on offense."
Maine West got the lead down to 7 on the first possession of the second half. But that was as close as the Warriors would get.
Ronzio had 13 points for Hersey while Davis Belford had 10 points and Schmidt 7 points.
Rice led Maine West with 15 points and 7 rebounds. Justin Scholler had 13 points while Sean Collins and Lucas Glaister each had 7 points.