Hersey knocks off Prospect
There were a few road blocks along the way, but overall the No. 1-ranked Hersey girls basketball team put together another strong performance Friday night at Prospect.
A 7-point run by the host Knights early in the second quarter cut the Huskies' lead to 19-16. But by halftime, Hersey (9-0, 6-0) built a 32-22 lead before pulling away in the second half for a 59-44 Mid-Suburban League East victory.
Sophomore guard Katy Eidle was once again an all-around huge factor for the Huskies with 15 of her game-high 21 points in the first half along with 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals.
"We knew this was a very important game for us," said Eidle, whose squad hosts Fremd Saturday night in a MSL crossover showdown.
"We didn't start the way we wanted, but I think we got our composure back and played the way we usually do."
A 3-pointer by Hersey senior Mary Kate Fahey (11 points), and a 3-pointer by senior teammate Mary McGrath (11 points) gave the Huskies their biggest lead of the game at 41-25 with just under six minutes remaining in the third quarter.
But Prospect (5-4, 5-2) was unable to keep up with Hersey's up-tempo pace and full-court defensive pressure as the Knights went into the fourth quarter facing a sizable 52-34 deficit.
"I thought we battled and executed our game plan, Hersey is a great team and they want to speed you up," said Prospect coach Matt Weber, whose team was outscored 20-12 in the decisive third quarter.
"When it comes down to it you have to tip your hats to good teams that can put the ball in the bucket."
Prospect was led by junior guard Andie Will, who scored 8 of her team-high 10 points in the first half as the Knights fell behind 15-9 after one period.
Hersey coach Mary Fendley knew the big game against Fremd was also this weekend, but she wanted her squad to focus solely on the Prospect game Friday night.
"We were pretty sole-focused on this game knowing that Fremd is the defending (state) champ, so we'll talk about them tomorrow, but we didn't want to overlook Prospect tonight," said Fendley. "We feel good about this because they're in second place with two games to go, and this was our first goal to win the (MSL) East."
The Knights had balanced scoring in the contest as junior Kathryn Keehn scored 9 points while senior teammates Jenna Acosta and Eliot Dojutrek scored 7 points apiece.
"When it really comes down to it they executed better than us and finished better than us," added Weber. "We wanted to play at a pace that was going to make us successful, and I definitely thought that we battled on defense and we forced them into some tough possessions. We've got to execute a little better at the free-throw line, we've got to finish, and just continue to hit those open looks."
Fendley felt the third quarter was really the key for the Huskies.
"I really like how they (Prospect) play, they were aggressive and scrappy," Fendley said. "And I liked our third quarter because we came out a little more aggressive, and our defense was a little more productive on penetration."