Hersey surges past Elk Grove
As second-year Hersey boys basketball coach Austin Scott took his young Huskie cagers to Elk Grove for a Mid-Suburban East matchup Friday night, he sought to build off the momentum his team gained from an MSL crossover win at Palatine four days earlier.
They would do battle versus an equally youthful Grenadier squad and their second-year leader Nick Oraham seeking their first win on the still young 2019-20 campaign.
Thanks to a pair of surges, the visitors successfully added to their foundation with a 69-51 victory at Charles Aldrich Gymnasium, giving them their second straight triumph and getting them in divisional play at 1-1.
"In the first quarter and I think in the third quarter, we were a step quicker. The second and fourth quarters we have some things to clean up a little bit," Scott said. " I give Elk Grove a lot of credit. Nick does a really good job. They play really, really hard."
After a Devin McKinney 3-pointer got the host school on the board at the 3:23 mark of the opening quarter, Hersey (3-5, 1-1) put together a 19-4 run that gave it a 26-7 lead at the end of one.
A Scott Rogowski trey got it going as the Huskies tallied 14 straight points led by 5 from 5-foot-10 junior guard Andrew Wagner including his 3 that made it 21-3 with 44 ticks left. Fellow junior Brent Wolff's buzzer-beating triple completed the barrage.
After the Grenadiers (0-8, 0-2) clawed back to within 37-28 on a McKinney basket during the opening minute of the second half, the Huskies went on their second outburst, going on a 19-2 run that snuffed out any hope of an Elk Grove comeback that put them comfortably ahead 56-30 with 2:26 left in the quarter.
Wolff paced the way with four 3s during the run as part of a game-high 20 points. The 6-1 junior, who had missed the last couple of games due to illness, admittedly came in to the game with an edge.
"My teammates had confidence in me," Wolff said. "I came in and just played my best and I was open."
McKinney led the Grens in scoring with 13, followed by senior forward Jordan Miller with 10.
Oraham lauded his team's effort as it travels to Wheeling next Friday as a final tuneup prior to facing Hinsdale South in opening round play at the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic at York High School in Elmhurst the day after Christmas.
"We fight, we compete every single possession whether we're up 10 or down 25. That's my number one expectation," He said. "It's been a struggle so far. We practice hard. Our kids are remaining positive. That's the tough thing about being 0-8."
Hersey will attempt to make it 3 for 3 for the week when it takes the 1.6 mile journey south from its campus when it visits neighboring St. Viator Saturday night.
"In three-game weeks you can really change the momentum of your season and momentum's very fragile," Scott said. "Our whole theme in three-game weeks is: chase three rabbits, you get none. You got to go one at a time."