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Considering the talented players the Mundelein boys basketball team expected to feature this season, expectations were understandably high.
So when the Mustangs lost Northern Iowa-bound senior Robert Knar to a knee injury until at least February, and more recently starters Chino Ebube and Nate Williams for the foreseeable future, it's easy to expect a dip in expectations.
That's not how Southern Illinois-bound senior Sean O'Brien and coach Dick Knar see it.
"No matter who is out and when they are coming back, our expectation to win every game is still the same," Knar said.
So when the host Mustangs fell behind 22-21 to Lakes in the second round of the Mundelein and Warren boys basketball tournament, the Mustangs stayed focused on their goal of winning.
"I told Sean and Dylan (Delaquila) to continue with the energy and bring it to the offensive end right away," Knar said of his halftime pep talk. "We had gotten most of our points in the first half off (Lakes) turnovers so we needed to get it going offensively."
Delaquila and O'Brien took the advice to heart.
O'Brien scored 10 of his game-best 26 points and Delaquila dished out 5 assists in a 21-point third quarter as Mundelein earned its first win of the season 59-49 over the Eagles. Lakes falls to 1-1.
"That third quarter was definitely the difference," said Lakes coach Chris Snyder. "We told the kids at halftime that Mundelein would come out and jump us in the third quarter and they really jumped out on us quick."
Lakes built its 1-point halftime led by the play of senior Justin Bergeron. He scored 6 of his team-best 12 points in the first half, as the Eagles took the early lead.
But the Mustangs roared out of the locker room, outscoring the Eagles 15-2 over the first six minutes of the quarter in building a 36-24 advantage.
The lead grew to as much as 42-27 before the Eagles made a run of their own. Lakes used a 9-0 burst in the fourth quarter to pull within 47-45 with 3:34 left, but a huge 3-pointer from Thomas Gandolfi and a trio of buckets from O'Brien sealed the Mustangs' first win.
Cliff Dunigan added 15 points for Mundelein and Jake Kohler had 11 for Lakes.