Hersey knocks off Libertyville
Just when Libertyville was closing in, Hersey took it all away and stayed the course, beating the Wildcats 58-45 Wednesday night in a semifinal game of the Class 4A Lake Forest boys basketball regional.
The Wildcats had closed the deficit to 32-29 after a hoop by Travis Clark with 2:42 left in the third quarter.
On the ensuing possession, a Libertyville player was called for a technical foul for arguing a call and then bumping a player. The result was Hersey senior forward Davis Belford was fouled and made 3-of-4 free throws, including two for the technical and two for the shooting foul, resulting in 35-29 lead.
Hersey then got the ball with 1:27 left in the frame and senior forward Jace Coffaro (12 points) made two straight buckets to cap a 7-0 run and end the third with the Huskies ahead 39-29.
"That was definitely a key point in the game," said Hersey coach Austin Scott, whose team improved to 15-15 and will now play Stevenson for the regional championship on Friday at 7 p.m.
"Our whole emphasis is to not let up," Scott added. "We've had some tough losses but we powered through tonight and did a great job persevering."
Both teams came out swinging in the first quarter with Coffaro popping in 5 points during the frame, which featured five lead changes.
Hersey took the lead for what turned out to be for good on a 3-pointer by senior guard Matt Hanushewsky that made it 9-7 with 3:17 left.
Libertyville hung around in the fourth quarter but Hersey kept the Wildcats at bay via the foul line.
In the fourth, the Huskies converted on 11-of-16 free throws, including 8-for-10 in the final two minutes when Libertyville was forced to foul.
Hersey's biggest lead was the final margin of victory.
"We didn't play very smart basketball, especially in the third," said Libertyville coach Brian Zyrkowski. "But we fought hard till the end."
Senior guard Josh Steinhaus chipped in 14 points while senior guard Brian Wilterdink added 11 for Libertyville.
Hersey's Belford led all scorers with 16 points.