The weight of a pair of overtime losses to end the regular season was compounded for Rolling Meadows with a wait of nearly a week to play another game.
The Mustangs showed how eager they were to get back on the winning track in Tuesday night's Mundelein Class 4A girls basketball regional semifinal. The top seed in the Libertyville sectional tore out to a 57-point halftime lead, allowed only 12 points through three quarters and hit 12 3-pointers to improve to 25-3 with an 81-25 victory over No. 18 Lake Forest (8-22).
"We were very anxious," said Meadows junior center Ashley Montanez, who had 14 points on 6-for-12 shooting from the field and 11 rebounds. "We knew what we had to work on in practice and it carried over to tonight's game.
"Words can't explain it, but we were all really, really excited. We wanted to come out and play our game."
Northwestern recruit Alexis Glasgow scored 19 points and hit five 3s, Jenny Vliet had 13 points and three 3s and Jackie Kemph had 12 points and 11 assists as Meadows' starters played less than a half. Chloe Prodanovic added 8 points and hit a pair of 3s to set up a third meeting with No. 8 Hersey (16-11), a 60-37 winner over No. 9 Warren, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday for the regional title.
"The first thing I said to the kids is it was just nice to get back on the court," said Meadows coach Ryan Kirkorsky of his team's first game since losing the Mid-Suburban League championship to Fremd at the buzzer. "To lose a big game, and to have to sit with that for a week, our kids were champing at the bit to get back out there.
"Our kids were focused and ready to play. We were less concerned with our opponent and more concerned with ourselves."
Meadows' emphasis on stopping the opposition was evident as it allowed only 1 second-quarter point en route to a 63-6 halftime lead.
"Rebounding and defense, we definitely worked hard to get better at that," Montanez said of the time between games. "Everyone was ready to play today."
Sophomore Grace Torkelson scored 8 points to lead Lake Forest but sophomore point guard Brooke Green did not play because of illness after scoring 10 points in Monday's quarterfinal win over Mundelein.