Sometimes, energy from senior night can wane after the opening minutes. But Dana Kym and her closest Libertyville pals kept up the intensity for 32 minutes Friday night.
Kym popped in 14 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to spark the host Wildcats to a 45-28 victory over Mundelein. From the opening whistle, it was obvious the 5-foot-10 Kym had an extra bounce to her step.
"I think it was our energy," Kym said. "We all had more energy for senior night, because we knew it was one of our last times on this floor."
When the ball neared the rim, it usually wound up in the hands of No. 23.
"I had a lot of extra motivation and desire," Kym said. "I always say rebounding is all about hustle."
Frankly, her will under the hoop is a constant source of amazement for the Wildcat coaching staff.
"It's hard to expect what she does," said Cats coach Greg Pedersen, whose team improved to 10-13, 5-5. "When we see Dana make a play, we'll say, 'That was a serious rebound.' She just comes flying in and gets the ball.
"I don't know where we'd be on defense without her rebounding."
She was hardly a one-woman show, however, as the Cats also received huge games from seniors Olivia Mayer (13 points, 6 steals) and Haley Hoeksel (12 points).
"Olivia is always everywhere," Kym noted. "She's always the one running all around the court. We rely so much on her speed and quickness to start the offense."
Hoeksel provided the finishing touch. She dropped in several mid-range jumpers to help the Cats build a big lead.
"Haley needed to hit those shots," Pedersen said. "Olivia needs to take shots, and Dana needs to hit the close ones. Tonight, all three of them were doing what we needed."
Senior Margaret Haws also played a key role on the defensive end.
"I thought Margaret did a great job on her girl," Kym observed.
All of the Cats played fierce defense. The Mustangs managed to hit only 11 of 33 field goals and turned the ball over 22 times.
"We had a lot of turnovers where we were careless with the ball," said Mustangs assistant coach Sarah Miller (head coach Brian Evans missed
the game due to illness). "We really didn't stick to our game plan as well as we could have."
Mundelein (8-15, 4-7) came out firing in the first quarter. The visitors used 8 points from senior Becca Woit to exit the opening stanza trailing just 14-11.
But the Wildcats switched to a 2-3 zone in the second quarter. The Mustangs did not adjust, committing 9 turnovers to fall into a 25-18 hole at halftime.
"We usually play man," Kym said. "They (Mustangs) had not scouted for zone, so it definitely confused them."
Woit finished the contest with 13 points. The Mustangs also received a boost from sophomore Natalie Busscher (8 points, 7 rebounds).