Georgakas sinks clutch free throws, lifts Prospect over Hersey
With last week's holiday basketball tournaments in the collective rear view mirror, prep hoop teams turned their attention to commencing their seasons including a return to league play as was the case with Friday evening's MSL East bout between Hersey and Prospect.
Both squads treated the near-capacity crowd at Jean Walker Fieldhouse to a back-and-forth battle that saw the host Knights standing last with a 56-55 win thanks a pair of free throws by senior guard Alex Georgakas with :0.6 left.
"It was awesome. That was a great way to start off after the winter (break)," Georgakas said. "You have to focus and it was really hard."
Georgakas' heroics came just after Jonathan Ryg had given the visiting Huskies a 55-54 lead with: 05 left when he took a Jackson Hupp feed in the paint for two of his 13 points.
Georgakas admitted that he didn't properly execute the play that his coach Brad Rathe had called in the timeout that was taken after Hersey had retaken the lead, but found a silver lining when he was fouled by Huskies senior swingman Max Menninga at the free-throw circle as he drove the lane.
"The play at the end, I messed up and made a mistake. They weren't expecting it -- I think," Georgakas said. "I got it (the basketball), went down (the) court. I was calm and I had enough time, and they fouled me."
That ended a final eight minutes of play that saw the lead change hands three times in the final 44 ticks. Prospect (8-8, 3-1) regained the lead at 54-53 on a triple by junior guard Drew Terpins which set the stage for the final, frantic seconds. That included a missed first opportunity for Hersey (11-8, 1-3) as it fared unsuccessfully on a field-goal attempt plus a trio of misses inside with: 20 left before Ryg's basket.
Ryg's younger brother junior guard Jared led all scorers with 24 followed by Hupp's 11 in the Hersey effort. Georgakas paced Prospect with 18 followed by sophomore Ben Schneider's 14 which included 4 of 6 from beyond the arc.
"It was a great high school game. That's what we're looking for. The end of (winter) break with Hersey and Prospect," Rathe said. "These games are always fun with some major swings of emotion in a short period of time there at the end."
Rathe also felt that the win provides some valuable learning to his unit as well.
"It's January, but I still think we learn a lot every day. We didn't have a lot of guys who played a lot of minutes last year outside of Alex and those end of game situations can be new. They hadn't (had) many close games like that down the stretch where you've got to execute."