Subject Line (article title)
Send to (required)E-mail
Send from (required)E-mail
All season, Mundelein has been like that expensive sports car in the garage that always needed one more part to get into gear.
On Wednesday at the Lake Zurich regional, the Mustangs had all those parts working in synch, and they were gunning their engines and running fast and wild as they blew past the host Bears 66-46 to earn a berth in Friday's finals.
Mundelein (17-13), which was seeded No. 5, will meet No. 4 seed Lake Forest for the regional title.
"We have had the capability," Mundelein coach Richard Knar said. "I think for the first time we had 18 guys. No one was sick and everyone is healthy.
"Robert (Knar) is still limited in his minutes. I think we have learned to play through that. When he first came back we thought he was going to handle the ball and do this and that. He can't. He has three minutes. Once we got accustomed to that we had a lot more energy. And it showed in our defense."
Mundelein limited Lake Zurich to just 33 percent (16-of-48) from the floor while forcing 16 turnovers.
"Defensively is where we played well today," coach Knar said. "Our offense was dictated by our defense and with our defense playing good, keeping good pressure and keeping them out of the lane and that was good for us."
Lake Zurich coach Billy Pitcher, whose team split with Mundelein in the regular season, said the Mustangs' transition game really hurt his team.
"If we could get some of those layups and 3-pointers to fall then they are not having a jailbreak," Pitcher said. "They are so athletic and so good in transition that if you miss that 3 and they get the rebound, they are off to the races."
Mundelein, which never trailed, busted the game wide open to start the second half.
Leading 30-21 at the break, Mundelein, behind the play of Sean O'Brien and Chino Ebube, opened the quarter with a 10-2 run to lead 40-23. But the Mustangs weren't done, closing out the quarter by scoring the final 10 points to take a 52-28 lead.
"It is senior year and the playoffs," said O'Brien, who finished with 25 points and 15 rebounds. "So we definitely don't want to go home.
"Our defense was great. We are communicating real well. Defense always leads the offense. We were rebounding well and getting out into transition well."
Ebube, whose 19 points included four dunks, liked the way his team ran the floor.
"It is a great win for us," Ebube said. "Our defense is the key to our offense. All I have to do is move on offense. My man Sean or Dylan (Delaquila) will find me."
Robert Knar had 7 points in about just as many minutes on the court. Cliff Dunigan also had 7 points for Mundelein while Delaquila finished with 6 points.
Mike Travlos led Lake Zurich (15-16) with 14 points while John Repplinger added 9 points.
"Fifteen wins for us was nice," Pitcher said. "It is the same as last year. We were hoping to get a little farther and get one more. I am really proud of these seniors. They really set the foundation for the direction we want our program to go."