Eidle's 32 sends Hersey past Libertyville in sectional semifinals
Hersey girls basketball coach Mary Fendley won her 535th career game in a playoff contest Tuesday night.
Her splendiferous guard, 6-foot senior Katy Eidle, practically scored via that many ways in the Huskies' 70-55 defeat of Libertyville's Wildcats in a Class 4A Highland Park sectional semifinal.
Or so it seemed.
"She's something, isn't she?" a beaming Fendley, in her 25th and final season at the Arlington Heights school, said.
The Michigan-bound (lucky Wolverines), all-business hoopster poured in 32 points to go with 10 rebounds, 7 steals (5 in the first quarter) and 2 blocks.
Three-point buckets, buckets off drives, a falling-down-put-back bucket, smooth 2-point buckets, buckets on fast breaks ... name your flavor of scoring.
Eidle provided it.
Ms. Eidle doubled as Ms. Variety in a highly entertaining, physical battle between the sectional's No. 2 seed (Libertyville) and No. 3 seed.
Hersey (29-5) will face top-seeded Fremd (30-2) for a sectional championship Thursday at 7 p.m. Fremd used a 22-0 run, bridging the second and third quarters, in its 48-23 defeat of fourth-seeded Lake Zurich (25-8) in Tuesday night's first sectional semifinal.
Fremd's Vikings topped Hersey 58-39 in the Mid-Suburban League title game on Feb. 8.
On Tuesday night Hersey raced out to an 18-6 lead after one quarter but led only 20-17 at the 4:39 mark of the second frame. Wildcats senior guard Emily Fisher (23 points, 7 rebounds) and Kate Rule (16 points) combined for 11 points in the we're-not-going-to-fold run.
"Libertyville is so good, and I loved the matchups out there," said Fendley, whose talent-packed and gritty crew defeated Libertyville 58-32 in a Buffalo Grove Bison Classic opener way back on Nov. 17.
"We were not about to think this game would play out like that one did. Tonight I never felt comfortable."
Hersey entered intermission with a 30-22 advantage, thanks to a putback by Eidle with 1 tick left in the second quarter.
She then recorded her sixth steal -- near midcourt -- in the first minute of the second half, turning that into an easy layup. Hersey junior Annika Manthy (7 boards) hit a freebie, and senior Natalie Alesia (12 points, including 8 in the second quarter, and 8 rebounds) struck for a putback, expanding the Huskies' lead to 35-23.
Libertyville (29-5), indefatigable and resilient, responded resoundingly from there, trailing only 47-42 on a trey from Maryland commit Fisher with 41 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
But Eidle nailed a trey 15 seconds later.
The contest remained back-and-forth taut in the early stages of the fourth quarter, with Libertyville tallying the first 5 points and Hersey answering with a 7-0 stretch.
Eidle -- yep, her again -- netted a field goal at 3:47 to give her club a 61-49 lead.
"Resolve -- we showed that tonight," proud Wildcats coach Greg Pedersen said. "I liked how we competed after that first quarter. We produced a run after changing to a zone and using our defense to generate offense.
"That was a bumping, bruising game," he added.
"Playoff basketball," Eidle noted. "The aim is to move on.
"We're moving on."
Hersey received 15 points from senior Megan Mrowicki and 6 points and 6 rebounds from sophomore Keaton Craft.
Wildcats guard Rachel Rule chipped in 7 points. Teammates Talya Tillman and Maddy Kopala came down with 5 boards apiece.