Prospect stuns top-ranked Hersey behind 21 from Will
To overcome a 9-point deficit late in the fourth quarter was a tremendous achievement in itself for Prospect.
To do it on the road against Hersey, the state's top-ranked Class 4A team, made the Knights' victory even sweeter.
Prospect used a 13-1 run in the final minutes at Ken Carter gymnasium in Arlington Heights to take the lead, then held on in the final seconds for a 50-47 Mid-Suburban East girls basketball win.
The Knights improved to 3-0 in the East, 9-2 overall, while Hersey fell to 11-2, 2-1.
"We're a bounce-back kind of team," said Prospect senior Andie Will, who scored 11 of her team-high 21 points in the fourth quarter. "We gave it our all tonight and worked as hard as we could.
"We knew we were never out of it, and I know that I can always rely on my teammates. They're my best friends and we really worked together."
Hersey junior Katy Eidle poured in 14 of her game-high 22 points in the final stanza, but the Knights' defense down the stretch was too much for the Huskies to overcome.
"She (Eidle) kept us in the game for sure," said Hersey coach Mary Fendley, "but we had some unforced turnovers that really hurt us."
"Prospect has a lot of seniors on the court, and their senior leadership showed tonight."
Hersey led 38-29 in the final period, but the scrappy defensive effort by Prospect led to some quick transition baskets.
And when Will hit a 3-pointer and followed that up with a layup moments later, Prospect led 42-39 with just 2 minutes remaining.
"We took a deep breath and remained composed, " said Knights coach Matt Weber of his team's rally.
"Hersey's a great team, and I kept telling the girls that there were going to be waves in the game and it's all about weathering the storm and dealing with the ups and downs."
Prospect maintained the advantage through a tense, thrilling final moments, but when Eidle canned a long 3 with 16 seconds left, the Huskies trailed just 48-47.
"That was a great shot," said Will of Eidle's clutch 3-pointer. "We had a game plan though, we stuck with it, and it worked out."
Knights guard Jessica Reizer was fouled on the ensuing possession, and the senior calmly sank 2 free throws to make it 50-47 with just seconds left.
Hersey rushed the ball downcourt, and a 3-point attempt for a tie at the buzzer by Meghan Mrowicki was on line but fell just short.
Mrowicki finished with 12 points, while 5-foot-11 senior Val Allen added 12 rebounds to the Hersey cause.
Reizer scored 11 for Prospect while classmate Kathryn Keehn added 6.
"The girls executed perfectly tonight," added Weber. "We had too many people step up to name. I tell the girls that if you want something, just go out and get it, and I'm just so proud of the way they battled for four quarters."