Hersey holds on despite furious rally by Prospect
In a situation that seemed improbable for the visiting Prospect Knights, the impossible almost happened.
Trailing the host Hersey Huskies 47-31 with 4:10 left in the Mid-Suburban East contest for second place, the Knights staged a furious comeback only to fall short at 63-60. The win avenges a one-point loss at Prospect in a 56-55 loss.
"We could play each other 10 times and each game could come down to one or two possession," said Hersey coach Austin Scott. "A team win in every sense of the word. I'm really proud that we were really proud of each other. That's the most important thing."
Prospect's Alex Georgakas, who played a courageous game in scoring 21 points, saw his three point attempt to tie the game go in and out of the basket. A Knight rebound and an attempt to get the ball back to Georgakas was deflected and the Huskies held on for the win.
Hersey (16-11, 7-3) out-hustled and outmuscled the Knights for the better part of three quarters.
Johnny Ryg led the Huskies in scoring with 22 points and 7 rebounds and was a pain in the side of Prospect with his efforts.
"Johnny Ryg plays man basketball," said Scott. "I love the ways he attacks, plays defense and rebounds."
"Even when Prospect started making shots in the fourth quarter we stuck to our defense and our game plan," said Ryg. "We stayed under control as a team."
Sophomore center Jackson Hupp tallied 10 of his 18 points in the second quarter when the Huskies outscored Prospect 16-9 to lead 28-19 at the halftime break.
"Jackson did a nice job staying the course during the game," said Scott.
"We stayed together as one," said Hupp. "When something goes wrong we give each other a high-five and our bench helps keeps us going."
Prospect did not help their cause by shooting 6-20 through three quarters but stayed in the hunt by connecting on 13 of 16 free throws.
"It was good to see that kind of fight in the second half," said Prospect coach Brad Rathe. "I told them at halftime that we were missing a little of the edge that got us here. I don't know why. We didn't give up. We fought to the end."
Hersey hit 18 of 23 free throws in the fourth quarter.
Junior Drew Terpins scored all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter to pull Prospect within 62-60 with: 17 left.
Nolan Murray helped his team's cause by scoring 9 of his 10 points in the final quarter.
A free throw by Ryg on the second of a two-shot foul with: 13 left extended the lead to 63-60.
"That was a big free throw by Johnny," said Smith. "When you miss the first one like he did, it's a hard situation to clear your head and make the second."
Jared Ryg broke double figures with 12 points for Hersey.
Ben Schneider, who scored two big baskets for the Knights (17-12, 7-3) in the fourth quarter, scored 10 points.