Hersey rolls past Maine West
After two difficult and close losses, Hersey's boys basketball team finally showed who it really is on Friday afternoon in a 53-27 win over Maine West at the Ed Molitor Thanksgiving Classic at Palatine.
The Huskies (1-2) came out ablaze on offense and smothering on defense in running out to a 15-4 first-quarter lead and never looking back for a minute. Hersey scored the first 9 points of the game as center Daniel Clawson hit an open 3-pointer, Brent Wolff scored off a steal and James Nolan converted a putback while Maine West uncharacteristically was 0-for-6 from the floor and committed a couple of turnovers in that same time before A.J. Ross finally scored on a back door alley-oop.
It continued into the second quarter as Hersey had the option of rotating in younger players while Maine West was doing the same out of necessity, looking for a lineup to click.
It was 25-8 at halftime and Hersey head coach Austin Scott was grateful for the win and the especially the effort.
"Our identity starts on defense," he asserted after the game, "by making things difficult for them. We fight for everything."
And that's particularly gratifying for him because, "When you don't have to coach effort, it makes coaching that much easier."
It was a mystery, meanwhile, for Maine West (0-3) head coach Tom Prokopij, whose team, like Hersey, had suffered close losses heretofore against Cary-Grove and York. His team shot a dismal 9 of 45 against Hersey's stingy man defense, was outrebounded 30-18 and committed 16 turnovers.
"They weren't falling," he said of the shot attempts, many of them being good looks that had fallen in the previous games. "We just looked like a completely different team," a team he knows has to pick up its defensive effort.
Jaren Pearson led the Warriors with 6 points, while Jacob Riedl and Emmanuel Ajose had 4 apiece.
For Hersey, Nolan got support from Clawson and from Ethan Roberts, with 6 points apiece, as the Huskies shared the ball and distributed the scoring, shot-taking and shot-making opportunities very unselfishly.