Hersey downs Palatine
Hersey clawed its way out of a corner Monday in Palatine.
The Huskies, winners of just one of their first six games, trailed Palatine 11-2 midway through the first quarter.
"Don't mess with desperate men," Hersey coach Austin Scott said. "That's what we were tonight. But for desperate men, I thought we were very composed too."
Hersey used that desperation and turned it into elation as the Huskies rallied for a 57-48 win over the Pirates in a Mid-Suburban League crossover boys basketball game.
"We have been in a lot of close games and they have been great teaching moments for us," Scott said. "Quite frankly, we were all sick of teaching moments. We need that left-hand column."
Hersey (2-5) had its big men come up with big plays.
Ben Randall, a 6-foot-7 junior, scored 18 points, 8 of which came in the fourth quarter.
"We were kind of down on ourselves," Randall said. "My team fed me the ball. I got some great passes and that helped."
Also giving the Huskies help on both ends of the court was James Nolan. The 6-5 senior scored 15 points and also was the main defender on Palatine's 6-8 Julian Campbell, limiting him to just 10 points.
"In practice, Ryan Gudaitis really helped prepare us," Nolan said. "He was great imitation for us. And we were just helping on the weak side and trusting our guards to help."
Palatine (2-4) took the early 11-2 lead and was able to maintain control. The Pirates remained on top after a 3-pointer by Connor Aikman made it 25-21 with 4:44 left in the first half.
Hersey then closed out the half with an 8-0 run to take a 29-25 advantage at the break.
Palatine got off to a fast start to begin the second half and regained the lead on a 3-pointer by Tommy Swanson that made it 32-31. The teams then had four lead changes and a tie before Nolan's basket with 3:52 to play gave Hersey the lead for good at 47-46 with 3:52 to play.
Palatine got it to 49-48 with 3:02 to play on a basket by Shailan Rajpurkar. Hersey then finished off the game they way it completed the end the first half, with another 8-0 run, to earn the victory.
"It has been a rough start in terms of results," Scott said. "It has been a great start for us in terms of growth. With a team that did not have a lot of returning firepower, growth in December is better than letdowns in February."
Daniel Clawson had 8 points for Hersey while Ethan Roberts chipped in 7 points.
Luke Seiffert and Swanson had 10 points each to join Campbell, who also had 7 rebounds, Rajpurkar had 8 points while Connor Aikman had 6 points for the Pirates.
"Great start, but it is a 32-minute game," Palatine coach Eric Millstone said. "The more physical and more aggressive team won tonight. They manhandled us physically. We knew coming in they were a physical, aggressive team. We had a lot of trouble matching up with them."