Elite talent, strong team bond has Hersey off to strong start

  • Hersey's Mary Kate Fahey shoots against Buffalo Grove Tuesday night. The 4-0 and state top-ranked Huskies travel to 4-0 Rolling Meadows in a Mid-Suburban East showdown Friday night.

    Hersey's Mary Kate Fahey shoots against Buffalo Grove Tuesday night. The 4-0 and state top-ranked Huskies travel to 4-0 Rolling Meadows in a Mid-Suburban East showdown Friday night. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Buffalo Grove's Leah Mckenna tries to slow down Hersey's Mary McGrath Tuesday night. Hersey, 4-0 and the No. 1 Class 4A team in the state, travels to 4-0 Rolling Meadows in a Mid-Suburban East showdown Friday night.

    Buffalo Grove's Leah Mckenna tries to slow down Hersey's Mary McGrath Tuesday night. Hersey, 4-0 and the No. 1 Class 4A team in the state, travels to 4-0 Rolling Meadows in a Mid-Suburban East showdown Friday night. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
By Mike Miazga
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 2/17/2021 5:57 PM

Last year's Hersey girls basketball team reached a Class 4A sectional, continuing a decade-long run of excellence for the program -- seven regional titles and a fourth-place state finish in 2010 -- under 400-plus-win coach Mary Fendley.

And with a roster that looks a lot like the one last year, Fendley and Co. had high hopes of a long postseason run in 2021 -- that is until the pandemic kind of changed things.

 

But things haven't really changed at Hersey. The Huskies still are loaded with elite talent and the team has its sights set on COVID-19-truncated schedule dominance the rest of the way.

Hersey was off to a strong 4-0 start through midweek thanks to the contributions of many. The Huskies busted off 32-points in the third quarter of a 76-33 win over Buffalo Grove Tuesday.

They will travel to Rolling Meadows for a Mid-Suburban East battle on Friday night.

"We have a lot of talented girls," Hersey senior Mary Kate Fahey said. "We put all the pieces together and work well as a team. We know when to push it."

Fahey, headed to New York University, had 17 points and 5 assists in the BG win and is one of three Huskies, along with longtime running mate Mary McGrath (the two have been playing together dating back to first grade on an Arlington Heights Park District team) and sophomore Katy Eidle. McGrath had 20 points, while Eidle had 18 points. Eidle was leading the team in scoring through 3 games at 21.0 points per contest.

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"We have been doing a really good job of pushing the ball offensively," said McGrath, who will play at Lindenwood (Missouri) University. "Defensively, we are pressuring the ball really well and getting a lot of points off steals and fast breaks."

Fahey admitted the team has grandiose goals if this were a normal season, but how it is unfolding has it's own positives.

"We have a great bond," she said. "We're happy and thankful for the opportunity to play. It's great being on the court with our teammates and best friends playing a sport we all love. It's tough that there is no state because we wanted to make a run, but getting to play together like this is great on its own."

Rolling Meadows update:

The Mustangs started 4-0, including a 22-point win against Palatine where Nicole Davis had 9 points and 6 assists. They will host top-ranked and 4-0 Hersey in Mid-Suburban East showdown Friday night.

Barrington update:

A 54-44 win over Conant put the Fillies at 4-0. Junior guard Allison Funk enjoyed a big week. "Allison stepped into the point guard role in Sophie's (point guard Sophie Swanson, who is out with an injury) absence and was a huge presence in our win against Palatine and was great against Conant (8 points)," coach Babbi Barreiro said. "She is knocking down shots and forcing turnovers."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Fillies play at 4-0 Fremd, the defending Class 4A state champion, in a Mid-Suburban West showdown Friday night.

Fremd update:

The Vikings, ranked No. 2 in Class 4A , host 4-0 Barrington in a Mid-Suburban West battle Friday night. They ran their record to 4-0 with wins over Palatine and Conant by a combined 68 points. Tuesday's win over Schaumburg was the first time coach David Yates had his entire roster together for a game. "I'm excited to see the whole group develop," he said. Jill Sheehan had 8 points, including several 3s off the bench in the Palatine game.

Hoffman Estates update:

While the Hawks started 0-3 out of the gates, coach Brad Reibel has seen plenty of progress. Ashley Oliver has led the team in scoring, but the superlatives don't stop there. "Ashley has been great in that role," he said. "However, each player has contributed this season. Amaya Hendrickson has emerged as a second option, and Toniyah Brown, Ashanti Fuentes, Diana Rami and Neisha Allen have made hustle play after hustle play."

Conant update:

The Cougars scored a recent 2-point win over Schaumburg and lost to Fremd by a dozen. Isabella Tierney had 14 points and 8 rebounds against Schaumburg, and followed that up with a 17-point, 6-rebound and 3-assist effort against Fremd.

Barrington update:

A 54-44 win over Conant put the Fillies at 4-0. Junior guard Allison Funk enjoyed a big week. "Allison stepped into the point guard role in Sophie's (point guard Sophie Swanson, who is out with an injury) absence and was a huge presence in our win against Palatine and was great against Conant (8 points)," coach Babbi Barreiro said. "She is knocking down shots and forcing turnovers."

The Fillies play at 4-0 Fremd, the defending Class 4A state champion, in a Mid-Suburban West showdown Friday night.

Fremd update:

The Vikings, who host 4-0 Barrington in a Mid-Suburban West battle Friday night, ran their record to 4-0 with wins over Palatine and Conant by a combined 68 points. Tuesday's win over Schaumburg was the first time coach David Yates had his entire roster together for a game. "I'm excited to see the whole group develop," he said. Jill Sheehan had 8 points, including several 3s off the bench in the Palatine game.

St. Viator update:

Joy Bergstrom had 28 points in St. Viator's season-opening win against Joliet Catholic. Coach Jason Raymond termed that effort "an easy 28 points."

Maine West update:

The Warriors were 2-1 through their first three games. Jaclyn Riedl notched a double-double with 16 points and 18 rebounds in a win against Vernon Hills. "Jaclyn has stepped up in all areas of her game to help us succeed," Maine West coach Kim deMarigny said.

Palatine update:

Madi Stark was averaging 11 points, 6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 3 steals per game for the Pirates through the team's first four contests. "Madi has been making her teammates better with some great passing and solid leadership," coach Mark Johnson said.

Wheeling update:

Coach Beth Christell had high praise for Nikki Niznik's recent play. "I have enjoyed seeing her lead and communicate in ways we haven't seen yet," she said. "She's been talking more and is raising the expectations of the team."

Maine South update:

The Hawks took the floor for the first time recently after an 11-day COVID protocol hiatus and downed neighbor Maine West 80-53. Nicole Gardiner had a career-high 24 points and hit six 3-pointers. Niamh Gardiner, Emily Paper and Ellie Ronan also hit double digits.

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