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As usual, the Rolling Meadows girls basketball team brought its fast-paced game Tuesday night to the Ken Carter Gymnasium in Arlington Heights.
And no one was faster than guard Jackie Kemph.
The 5-foot-5 junior sped to the basket for multiple fastbreak layups and short bank shots — hitting 12 of 16 from the field — for a career-high 31 points as Meadows did nothing to harm its 72 points-per-game team scoring average.
The Mustangs won their Mid-Suburban East opener 75-57 over Hersey, using a 16-4 second-quarter run to pull away for a 34-20 edge at intermission.
Kemph wasn't only about scoring baskets.
She also had 8 assists, 7 rebounds and 3 steals as Meadows ran its record to 8-0.
"We just didn't have an answer for her," said Hersey coach Mary Fendley, whose team is 3-4 and 0-1. "You can't afford to double team her because their other players are so effective. They scored 75 points and I would say she had her hand in about 60 of them."
The Hersey offense, though, deserved a hand.
Its 57 points were the third most anyone has scored off Meadows this season.
"We like to say it all starts with defense but that was our downfall tonight," said Kemph, who made one assist to her sister Allie for a layup in the first quarter. "We gave up 37 points in the second half — that's not OK. But we can go back and fix a lot of things."
The Mustangs certainly don't have much to fix on their transition game.
If they weren't getting layups, they were dishing the ball out for 3-pointers.
Junior Alexis Glasgow had 2 in the first quarter. Her second one gave the Mustangs an 18-9 lead.
Glasgow finished with 15 points and three 3-pointers.
Hersey rallied to within 18-16 on a 3-point play by Ashley Raulli and free throw by Morgan Harris to start the second quarter.
But that's when Meadows answered with its 16-4 run.
"The biggest thing we keep talking about is running for your teammates," said Meadows coach Ryan Kirkorsky. "And I thought the kids really put that on display tonight.
"Jackie scored a bulk of the points but that's the result of the other kids running their lanes with her. It's a fun way to play the game."
Kirkorsky watched all ten of his players enter the scoring column, including junior Elizabeth Vasilogambros, who tossed in a pair of 3-pointers in the final nine minutes.
"I thought Elizabeth was tremendous," Kirkorsky said. "She has been playing in junior varsity games and shooting with a lot of confidence, and that transferred over to this game."
Ashley Montanez, whose steal near half-court and layup started the second half, finished with 10 points and 4 blocks. Jenny Vliet pulled down 5 rebounds.
"I thought everyone played awesome," Jackie Kemph added. "Our people off the bench were great."
Junior Chloe Prodanovic became the 10th Mustangs to score when she hit a 3-pointer in the final two minutes. Sami Kay, Morgan Keller and Katie Shewmon also contributed to the Mustangs offense which has not been held under 60 points just once (in a 59-28 win over Conant).
Harris finished with a career-high 20 points and 3 assists for Hersey while Casey Weyhrich added 12 with 4 assists. They were all-tourney selections at the Maine West Tip-Off Classic.
Senior forward Erica Hill chipped in 10 points with a team-high 9 rebounds for the hosts.
"Scoring 57 points, I ws happy with that," Fendley said. "Actually, I thought our defense on transition was pretty good but she (Jackie Kemph) is so quick she just went coast-to-coast a lot of times on us.
"We do not see Rolling Meadows now until the last game of division play so we know where we stand now. Our goal will be to match up better with them in February."