Hersey knocks off Grayslake Central
The deal was that the "Winner gets dinner."
But Austin Scott was fine with that.
Not only was Hersey's boys basketball coach relieved that his team went home from Grayslake Central on Saturday night with a 63-57 nonconference victory, he was more than happy to cover a meal for one of his closest friends and colleagues, Grayslake Central coach Kosta Kougias.
"Kosta and I have become great friends, lifelong friends. He was at my wedding this summer," Scott said after the game. "We'll go to dinner tonight and it's going to be a great time. We always enjoy each other's company and we always enjoy competing against each other."
For a while, Scott and Kougias, who now live next door to each other in Mount Prospect, were on the same team.
They were both on the Grayslake Central boys basketball staff during the 2011-2012 season when Brian Moe, now the athletic director at Grayslake Central, was the varsity head coach.
Kougias was the sophomore coach and Scott was the Freshman B coach. It was Scott's first job out of college.
"My first coaching job was with Kosta and I was a young 22-year-old," Scott said. "He always kept me smiling and he was always teaching me that this (coaching) is, more than anything, something that we do for enjoyment and something we do to help kids.
"I tell the kids all the time that basketball is about building relationships and no relationship is more important to me than mine with Coach Kougias. He's a fantastic guy. And it's fun to be around him and to play against him. His teams always battle until the end."
Kougias' Rams certainly did that against Hersey.
The Huskies, who improve to 11-8 on the season, were up by as many as 17 points (53-36) early in the fourth quarter.
But Grayslake Central refused to go down easily on its home floor.
The Rams then went on a 21-7 run to cut their deficit to just 3 points (60-57) with about 1:30 remaining.
Junior guard Dillan Dumanlang came off the bench to spark the rally for Grayslake Central. He scored 9 of his career-high 13 points in the fourth quarter.
"I just like to take advantage of every second I have out on the floor coming off the bench," said Dumanlang, who has put together two big games in a row, scoring 11 points in the Rams' previous outing. "Everyone gave a 110 percent effort on the floor (in the fourth quarter), a total team effort."
Tony Crews, who scored a team-high 15 points for Grayslake Central and was one of four players for the Rams in double-figures, also had a big fourth quarter. He knocked down two big 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, as did teammate Ethan Boelens (12 total points, on a total of four 3-pointers).
Grant Hardy (10 points) also finished in double-figures for the Rams.
"We had a little more urgency (in the fourth quarter), we were a little more aggressive," said Kougias, whose team drops to 7-10 on the season. "Early on, Hersey was aggressive on both ends and we weren't. We looked like we were chasing stuff and they were knocking down shots. They were shooting 50 percent from the field in the first half and we were shooting 20 percent.
"But out of halftime, we found a lineup that really worked, especially in that fourth quarter. The kids came out and figured it out. I'm proud of the effort. But hats off to Hersey, they made shots when they had to."
Hersey answered Grayslake Central's big fourth quarter run with big shots of its own by Matt Hanushewsky and Davis Belford, who each had a team-high 15 points, as well as Ryan Verhulst (9 points) and Jacob Kluczewski (8 points).
"We were not patient on offense (early in the fourth quarter) and we had quick possessions and then they started knocking down threes. We need to learn to close games out," Hanushewsky said. "We did a good job of playing together early and we played good defense (to build a big lead). We just need to do a better job of coming together at the end."