Hersey used eight consecutive days of practice to catapult itself to an impressive 78-53 victory over Wheeling on Friday night in Arlington Heights.
We had not been playing this well at all, said Hersey coach Steve Messer. But we had eight days of practice. I think we were at the tipping point and I think we are learning how to win and play consistently.
Hersey (5-9, 2-4) got off to a fast start in the Mid-Suburban East boys basketball game. The Huskies forced six Wheeling turnovers in the first four minutes.
While the defense was smothering Wheeling, the Huskies offense got into full gear, running off 13 consecutive points to build a 15-3 advantage.
We had been struggling, said Hersey guard Connor Watters, who finished with 9 points and 4 assists. But we came off some good practices and that helped us a lot. We came out like we practiced.
Hersey continue to dominate play, as the Huskies opened a 28-8 advantage with 6:21 left in the first half on a pair of free throws by Quinn Orlandi (7 points).
We got off to that quick start and maintained it, Messer said. That had been one of our problems in the first half of the season.
I thought we shared the ball very well and our defense was good too.
Messer began to substitute freely from there as the Huskies lead grew to as many as 32 points. Max Heeren came off the bench to lead Hersey with 14 points. Alex Sutrinaitis had 12 points and Alex Mueller had 10 points as 12 different Huskies scored.
It was great to play a lot of kids tonight, Messer said. I thought we got good energy from everyone.
The teams combined for 75 free throws, 30 of which came in the final quarter.
Wheeling got strong play from Jeremy Stephani (19 points) and Chris Pierro (10 points).
They did a fantastic job of forcing their will on us, Wheeling coach Anthony Como said. We are a young team and we need to start coming through with our game plan and executing it. We are having a hard time doing that right now.