After losing its last three games by a combined seven points, the Rolling Meadows boys basketball team made a statement on Friday night.
Led by a core group of seniors, the Mustangs upended the Hersey Huskies 49-35 in Rolling Meadows.
Powered by seniors Matt Dolan (game-high 14 points, 10 rebounds), Austin Reed (12 points), and Jack Milas (7 points), the Mustangs avenged a 38-32 loss at Hersey on Nov. 30 with a convincing win over the Huskies, who beat Prospect a week ago to end the Knights' unbeaten run in Mid-Suburban East play.
"It feels good to get this win," Mustangs coach Kevin Katovich said after his team snapped a five-game losing skid. "We told the guys we needed to keep sticking with the plan."
The Mustangs (6-15, 3-5) took an early 7-0 lead and led 11-5 after one quarter. Hersey guard Alex Mueller (team-high 13 points) cut the deficit to 13-11 with a basket with 4:30 left in the first half, but Meadows responded with an 8-0 run, capped off by Tim Smith's 3-pointer to make it 21-11. Mueller closed the half strong with two baskets to make it 21-16 at the break.
The Mustangs came out strong in the second half with a 6-0 run to push the lead to double digits.
Hersey (6-13, 3-5) closed to 27-21 with two Quinn Orlandi baskets but Matt Dolan scored 7 of his 14 points in the third quarter to give Meadows a 37-26 edge after three quarters.
"Our seniors made a statement to start the third quarter," Katovich said. "We challenged him (Matt Dolan) at half, and he certainly responded."
Playing a matchup zone throughout the game, the Mustangs pressured the ball and varied their looks on the Huskies, who only made 13-of-45 shots while Meadows connected on 19-of-49 of its attempts.
The home team pulled away in the fourth quarter.
Mike Dolan's steal and basket gave the Mustangs their biggest lead of the game at 45-28 with 5:30 left in the game.
"We came out with a lot of energy and this should give us a lot more confidence for the rest of the season," Reed said. "If we play like this, we can beat anyone."