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Maggie Berigan’s free throws help Hersey upset top-ranked Fremd

Pressure.

Hersey did not handle it well last week and lost to Buffalo Grove. Fremd did not handle it well Tuesday and lost to Hersey.

Hersey led for all but the first two minutes and junior center Maggie Berigan made two free throws with 7.5 seconds remaining as the No. 14 Huskies stunned No.1 Fremd 47-43 in a Mid-Suburban League crossover in Arlington Heights.

Berigan scored eight points for Hersey, but none bigger than the last two after Fremd (6-1) had sliced a 13-point deficit to 45-43 with 19 seconds remaining.

“We came back to practice on Monday and all worked hard,” Berigan said. I thought it was our best practice of the year. It really showed here. I think this was the best game we’ve played. Slowing down Haley Gorecki was the key.

“She’s a great player. Everyone in the area knows it. I think Jules (Juliette Vainisi) did a great job guarding her. She really came up big for us. It was just a great defensive game, and that’s what we focused on Monday.”

Fremd took a 6-4 lead on two free throws by Gorecki (22 points, four steals, three assists) less than two minutes into the game, but Hersey closed the quarter on a 15-5 run fueled by a pair of 3-pointers by 5-9 sophomore Claire Gritt (10 points) and a third by 5-5 sophomore Gina Miklasz.

The Huskies (5-1) pushed the lead to 25-13 with 3:47 remaining in the second quarter on a jumper by Annie Korff before Fremd rallied to within 28-20 with 51 seconds left in the half on a conventional three-point play by Gorecki. But Berigan beat the buzzer from close in to give Hersey a 30-20 halftime lead.

“I think we as a team weren’t playing well and I take blame for that,” Hersey coach Mary Fendley said. ”The kids made mistakes (in the Huskies’ loss to the Bison) that we’ve already talked about and they took responsibility for that.

“I felt we came into this game without a lot of pressure. Fremd’s such a good team and we know how highly ranked they are. We felt that pressure against Buffalo Grove. I think us relaxing and knowing what we’re good at and for the first time doing those things feels really good.”

Fremd got within 43-41 on a basket by Grace Tworek (nine points) with 3:10 remaining and had numerous chances to tie or take the lead, but a traveling call against Brianna Lewis and a 3-point basket by Gorecki that an official waved off to call an illegal screen helped Hersey keep its distance.

Two free throws by Annie Korff extended Hersey’s lead to 45-41 with 47.9 seconds remaining, but a Tworek rebound of a miss by Bryana Hopkins cut the deficit to 45-43 with 19.2 left.

Fremd forced a turnover on the ensuing inbounds, but missed a long 3-pointer out of the corner, setting up Berigan’s game-clinching free throws.

“We can’t play like that and expect to beat anybody,” Fremd coach Dave Yates said. “I thought we gave ourselves an opportunity to be in the game at the end, but you can’t play that sloppy for three quarters and think that everything’s going to work out the right way.

“We had multiple opportunities, but you can’t do little things incorrectly like we’re doing right now and win games. You can’t miss layups. You can’t turn the ball over. We got work to do. Credit Hersey. They made plays. They made shots. They came out ready to play.”