Steinhaus lifts Libertyville past Hersey in 3 OTs
It took a village to get to a third overtime.
And then point guard Josh Steinhaus, who could easily now win a race for mayor in said village, brought Libertyville home from there.
Steinhaus and his Libertyville teammates got out to rough start in Saturday's nonconference basketball game at Hersey. They were down 10-0 out of the gate.
But the Wildcats fought back, and fought and fought and fought and wound up forcing not just one overtime but three.
Down the stretch, Libertyville got big shots and big plays from Travis Clark, Will Moore and Brian Wilterdink, among others.
But, with a career-high 32 points, it was Steinhaus who was both the steady hand, as well as a dominating force in pushing Libertyville clearly over the top, 73-64.
The Wildcats are now 12-11 on the season. Hersey drops to 13-11.
"Growing up, I've dreamed of games like this," Steinhaus said. "It was great to live it."
Steinhaus scored 13 of Libertyville's 16 points in the third and final overtime and single-handedly outscored Hersey in the period by 6 points.
Beginning the third overtime with a momentum shifting 3-pointer, Steinhaus added two other field goals and went 6-for-6 at the free throw line.
"Steinhaus had a night," said Libertyville coach Brian Zyrkowski, pointing out that Steinhaus also played the entire game (44 minutes) while also guarding Hersey star Matt Hanushewsky. "Hersey had a difficult time guarding Josh. He is such a good basketball player and he has so much experience with the ball in his hands. And we trust him any time he has the ball to make plays. He told us (during overtime) that he could execute and take care of the ball and make the right plays and he did tonight.
"He led us that entire game. And he just continued to grind it out."
Down 10-0 to start the game, Libertyville cut its deficit to just 4 points (12-8) by the end of the first quarter. And the game was tied at halftime, foreshadowing the tight finish.
Clark, who sat most of the first half with two quick fouls, had some big buckets for Libertyville in the fourth quarter, including Libertyville's final bucket in the period. He then hit a dagger of a 3-pointer in the corner in the final seconds of the second overtime to force the third overtime.
The dramatic 3-pointer by Clark, who finished with 11 points (all after halftime), followed an amazing finish to the first overtime when Hanushewsky (9 points) also hit a 3-pointer with just seconds remaining to tie the game for Hersey and force the second overtime.
"It was certainly a game of runs," Hersey coach Austin Scott said. "(Steinhaus) is a heck of a player. A lot of it was just him. Talk about winning plays and the difference between a good player and a great player. Man, I hope there were some kids watching him tonight because that was a great learning experience. He did a great job."
Hersey got plenty of big plays out of not only Hanushewsky but also big man Jacob Kluczewski, who pounded his way inside and on the boards for a team-high 23 points.
Rocco Ronzio and Jace Coffaro also finished in double-figures for the Huskies with 14 and 11 points respectively.
"We just always seem to have a lapse," Kluczewski said. "We have a hard time keeping our foot on the gas and finishing off teams.
"I was trying to do my part in getting rebounds and looking for open teammates. But (Steinhaus) was tough and we were kind of one step away."