Dersnah returns in Palatine's win over Fremd
Friday night"s MSL West finale between archrivals Fremd and Palatine was in need of a storyline.
That's because the Pirates had already clinched their first West crown since sharing it with Barrington five winters ago when they won on the Broncos home floor, and the Vikings had dropped an OT decision at Conant the previous Friday.
It came in the form of the news that was released about 90 minutes before tipoff when Palatine senior forward Grant Dersnah would make his season debut on the Pirates' home floor.
The 6-foot-5 Dersnah suffered a serious lower leg injury while quarterbacking Palatine's football team in a week 4 loss at Glenbrook South on Sept. 15 ending his season.
"I'm dressing tonight," a happy Dersnah exclaimed after leaving the training room to go to the Palatine locker room to change.
The near-capacity crowd at Palatine gave him a standing ovation when he entered the Pirates lineup with 23 seconds left as the student section chanted, "We want Dersnah" which became much louder as he scored his only points of the contest with a layup with 8 seconds remaining in the home team's 60-42 victory.
It wrapped up West play at 9-1 for the Pirates and moved its mark to 21-6 overall as it avenged an earlier road loss to the Vikings back in December.
"It's so unbelievable," Dersnah said after being mobbed by both his teammates and classmates shortly after the contest. "I've never felt anything like this in my life. These last five months have been the toughest five months of my life and I couldn't have done it without my family, my friends and this amazing (Palatine) community."
The home team took care of its business in the early going by establishing game control as it built up a 20-8 lead after one on the strength of 6 of Connor May's team-high 15 points. It stretched that advantage to 32-19 at halftime as senior guard Sam Millstone paved the way with 6 of his 13 points in period number two.
Fremd (16-9, 6-4) could get no closer than 11 in the third despite solid efforts by senior forwards Mark Braun (game-high 16 points) and Cameron Kuhl's 12.
Tyler Swierczek added 10 for the Pirates who will host Cary-Grove in a Saturday afternoon nonconference matinee prior to their trip to MSL East Champion Rolling Meadows on Wednesday for the MSL Conference Championship game.
"We're playing pretty well right now and we're doing a good job defensively and we need to make sure we keep doing that," Palatine coach Eric Millstone said. "We're just trying to play our best basketball. I think that every team sets out to play their best basketball this time of (the) year and we got ourselves into a nice little stretch (of the season). We can't look ahead and (need to) focus on Cary-Grove."
Fremd will travel to Arlington Heights on Tuesday for an MSL season-ending crossover at Hersey.