Hersey hangs on to beat Elk Grove
The energetic Elk Grove effort on defense in the second half Friday night against Hersey was nothing short of spectacular.
Unfortunately for the home-standing Grenadiers, they had dug themselves too big of a hole in the first half to come all the way back.
The visiting Huskies played almost flawlessly to build a 17-point halftime lead, then had to hold on late for a 59-53 Mid-Suburban East boys basketball win.
Elk Grove got within 3 in the waning moments but despite several chances couldn't overtake Hersey.
"They made a run at the end but we really stayed together," said Huskies senior Davis Belford, who scored 10 points. "We were hitting a lot of 3s in the first half -- everyone was chipping in. Hopefully next time we can do that the whole game."
Jace Coffaro led Hersey with 15 points while Brandon Burns scored 15 for Elk Grove.
"We were a little down on ourselves in the first half, after they went on some runs," said Grens senior Ryne Singsank. "We came together in the locker room as a unit at halftime and came out in the second half with an intensity we didn't have in the first two quarters."
Trailing 41-24 at the half, Elk Grove held Hersey to 4 points in the third quarter as it cut the deficit to 9.
The Grens then stepped up the pressure on defense, and when Burns hit a 3 with a couple minutes remaining in the game the Hersey lead was just 51-48.
"We definitely weren't the most aggressive team tonight," said Huskies senior Matt Hanushewsky, "but we bounced back."
Hersey clung to the 3 point lead until Coffaro was fouled on an offensive rebound, and sank 2 free throws to put the Huskies up by 5.
Then Hanushewsky iced the game with a steal in the backcourt, and his ensuing layup made it 55-48.
"I knew that he (the Elk Grove player bringing the ball up the court) was going to cross over," said Hanushewsky. "Our coaches told me just to get my hand in there and I was able to do it."
Elk Grove was able to close to 55-51 late and had a chance to make it a 1-point game but two consecutive 3-point attempts just rimmed out.
Free throws by Belford with seconds left closed out the game.
"In the end we've got to come together like we did tonight," added Hanushewsky.
Senior Riley Rathman scored 13 points for the Grens; Hanushewsky finished with 13 points for the Huskies while teammates Ryan Verhulst and Rocco Ronzio each scored 10.
"We had to keep the same mindset tonight as when it was 0-0," said Hersey coach Austin Scott. "We got a little complacent in the second half at that starts from the top. I think as poorly as the second half was played on our part, at times, ultimately I'm proud of our guys for stepping up and making winning plays when they had to. Give Elk Grove a lot of credit for staying the course and playing hard."