Meadows can't slow down Hersey

 
By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 1/18/2019 9:32 PM
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Hersey overcame Rolling Meadows' early slowdown tactics and ran past the host Mustangs 52-36 in Mid-Suburban East boys basketball action Friday night at Meadows.

Playing without super sophomore Max Christie, who is still out with an injured hip, and the Mustangs' second leading scorer in Javonte Warrener, Rolling Meadows coach Kevin Katovich opted to slow the pace of the game.

"We obviously prepared for them to have their full roster," said Hersey coach Austin Scott, whose Huskies have now won 4 in a row.

"What I told our guys was that the first casualty of war is the war plan. We had to adjust and good players adjust."

Meadows' slowdown worked for the first 5 minutes of the game with Hersey leading just 3-2. Hersey (10-8, 4-2) then turned up the defensive pressure and Rocco Ronzio hit his second 3-pointer and the Huskies opened up a 10-4 lead after one quarter.

"They tried slowing the tempo down," said Ronzio, who had 10 points. "We ran some good screens and I got some open shots and knocked a couple of shots down."

That plan worked nearly to perfection as Hersey would force 7 turnovers in the second quarter. The Huskies were also able to keep Rolling Meadows off the glass, using their size to hold an 8-1 rebounding edge in the first half.

The Huskies were able to run off 7 unanswered points to begin the second quarter. They opened up a 17-4 lead on a 3-pointer by Scott Rogowski, who came off the bench to score 8 points.

"We adjusted very well," Scott said. "We made some shots. We had to do some things that we are not particularly used to doing in order to get the tempo to where we could get some easy baskets and have them adjust to what they were not ready for."

Hersey closed out the half with a 3-pointer and 3 free throws by Ryan Verhulst as the Huskies broke it open with a 23-8 lead at the half.

"It was an interesting game," said Verhulst, who finished with 10 points. "We weren't used to the slow pace. Coach gave us a plan. We were trying to attack and make the game more fast paced."

Katovich said the Mustangs (10-7, 3-3) did a good job of implementing the offensive plan.

"I thought our kids did a real nice job of executing the game plan," Katovich said. "We obviously wanted to control tempo. And we did. I am proud of kids. They really battled."

Katovich said that both Christie and Warrener, who were both on the bench in warmups, will miss the Mustangs' game Saturday against Maine West. They will also most likely miss next Tuesday's game against Cary-Grove. Both should be ready for Rolling Meadows' game next Friday against Elk Grove.

"We need to get healthy," Katovich said. "But we are not going to rush anyone back."

Jonah Ogunsanya came off the bench to score 8 points for Rolling Meadows while Daniel Sobokowicz had 7 points.

Jace Coffaro had 8 points for Hersey and Jacob Kluczewski had 7 points and 7 rebounds.

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