In an emotional pregame ceremony at Ken Carter Gymnasium, Hersey celebrated the accomplishments of its seven senior players.
But the upperclassmen didn’t let the festivities stop there.
Led by Ashley Raulli, who Huskies coach Mary Fendley said “had the best game of her career,” Hersey defeated visiting Elk Grove 39-22 on senior night to move into a second-place tie with the Grens in the Mid-Suburban East.
“All of our seniors were great,” said Fendley, “but I just thought Ashley was outstanding. Rebounding, fighting for loose balls, posting up, playing defense — her effort really made a difference.”
“This was a huge win,” Raulli said. “I’m so proud to be a part of this team. We get along so well, and I went out and tried to do my best tonight to support our other six seniors.”
Classmate Casey Weyhrich scored 13 points for the Huskies, while Diamond Boyd had a game-high 14 points for the Grenadiers.
“We just weren’t ready to play,” said Elk Grove coach Kathie Swanson. “I’m disappointed, because we’ve been playing so well lately.
“We didn’t show any consistency at all out there. It was like one step forward and two steps back.”
Fendley started an all-senior lineup of Weyhrich, Meg Cerniglia, Sara Bayerle, Lora Kelly and Bridget Kelly.
Strong work on the boards from the Kelly sisters and 4 quick points by Cerniglia staked the Huskies to an early-5 point lead.
Then the defense clicked in as Hersey’s zone ‘D’ held Elk Grove to 6-second quarter points en route to a 24-11 halftime lead.
“I love it when we play zone,” Raulli said. “You have to work together on defense, and you take that momentum and carry it over to the offensive end.”
“We normally don’t play zone for an entire game,” Fendley added. “But we knew how Elk Grove might react to it, and we learned from our mistakes the first time we played them (in a Grens victory).”
Elk Grove guard Kelly Naughton (5 points) tried to lead a third-quarter comeback with a quick basket followed by a 3-pointer, but Weyhrich answered with a 3-pointer, and when Cerniglia nailed a 12-footer from the baseline the Huskies led 34-17.
Boyd’s quick turnaround basket to open the fourth quarter helped the Grens (16-10, 6-3) close to within 34-22.
Then Hersey’s defensive effort kicked into an even higher gear.
The Huskies (14-10, 6-3) didn’t allow Elk Grove another point the rest of the contest.
Raulli finished with 8 points and 5 rebounds, while Cerniglia had 7 points and 6 boards.
Another Huskies senior, Erica Hill, had a basket and free throw and also corralled 6 rebounds, while junior Morgan Harris contributed 8 points for the home team.
After the game, Fendley, who won game No. 302 of her career, had nothing but more praise for her senior leaders.
“I’ve never had a better group than these seven,” said Fendley. “They go out of their way to turn 14 individual players into a cohesive unit.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.