After a big moment for herself and bigger win for her Grayslake North basketball team, senior Kendall Detweiler was reminiscing in Mundelein's gym Friday night.
"I was 5-2 when I was coming in here," Detweiler, who played in Mundelein's Turkey Tournament as a tiny freshman, said with a laugh. "So I've grown a little bit."
Actually, she's grown tremendously.
The 5-5 guard might have been feeling tall enough to hit the rim after becoming Grayslake North's all-time leading scorer in the Knights' 61-45 win over Mundelein.
Detweiler entered the game needing 4 points to tie Lauren Erickson atop the Knights' scoring chart. She finished with 16 points, giving her 872 for her career. Detweiler, who also had 4 steals, scored 5 points in the fourth quarter to help the Knights stave off the Mustangs, who suffered their first loss in the tourney.
"She can take care of the basketball in any situation, too," Grayslake North coach Nate Flannery said. "They were sending 2-3 people at her tonight, and she doesn't flinch."
Brittney Thibeaux scored a game-high 17 points and grabbed 9 rebounds for Grayslake North (2-2), which rebounded from a 51-46 loss to Grant on Wednesday.
"I'm super happy with tonight," Flannery said. "We bring back Brittney and Kendall (from last season's 26-4 team), and on paper that looks right away like we're going to be a solid team. But after them, we didn't really have anybody that had varsity basketball experience. That's coming, and tonight was a huge step in that direction."
Natalie Busscher scored 14 points for Mundelein (3-1), which can still win the tournament by beating Carmel (4-0) at 6 p.m. today, as head-to-head is the first tiebreaker. Jamie Hemmer added 9 points coming off the bench for the Mustangs.
"I don't know how you play athletics when you don't have any intensity," Mundelein coach Brian Evans said. "I don't know how we would not have any intensity."
Busscher's 5 points, including a 3-pointer, helped Mundelein to a 14-9 lead after one quarter. But sparked by 5-11 junior Ella Swanson, who scored 6 of her 7 points and collected 5 offensive rebounds (8 total) in the second quarter, Grayslake North took a 25-24 lead into halftime. The Knights then outscored the hosts 20-16 in the third and 16-5 in the fourth.
The aggressive Knights went to the foul line 40 times, in total, making 24 free throws.
"You have to give Grayslake a lot of credit because they're a really good team," said Mundelein junior guard Maddie Zazas, who came off the bench to contribute 5 steals, block a shot and take a charge. "We just got to stay tighter on 'D,' make our open looks and drive to the basket more."
Despite his team slipping to 1-2 after losing to a Grant squad that won only 10 games last season, Flannery wasn't upset.
"It wasn't an effort issue at all," he said. "It was X's and O's. It was cleaning up our zone offense. Grant played zone against us, and our zone offense struggled. And Grant has a nice point guard (sophomore Jasmine Sangster) that we had trouble containing."
Up 45-40 entering the fourth quarter against Mundelein, Grayslake North kept a safe margin by hitting 12 of 18 free throws. Thibeaux sank 5 foul shots, Detweiler made 3, and Maggie Fish (7 points) and freshman Sidney Lovitsch (6 points) each knocked down a pair.
"They're a good team," said Mundelein junior guard Maggie Mahar, who scored 6 points. "I guess we just came out really slow and weren't ready to play. We came into a timeout and coach gave us some words, and then we scored a couple of (baskets), but then we let down a little. Our traps weren't there.
"Their ballhandler (Detweiler) is a really strong offensive player -- and defensive player," Mahar added. "We couldn't stop her."
Detweiler wasn't aware of her career point total coming into the game. All that mattered to her was the Knights getting a bounce-back win.
"It feels really good," Detweiler said. "We've all been working hard at practices, and today was the day it all came together. We played really well."