If first-year Mundelein coach Corey Knigge could somehow bottle up the final five minutes of the Mustangs' season opener against Lake Forest Academy on Monday night, he would gladly do so, and reserve some for when the Mustangs need it most.
Unfortunately for Knigge, his Mustangs couldn't find that same rhythm and intensity in the first 27 minutes of the contest.
Mundelein, which opened its season Monday night as hosts of the Mustang Thanksgiving Tournament, found itself in a double-digit hole to start the fourth quarter and even a wild rally in the final five minutes couldn't rescue the Mustangs as they fell to the Caxys 76-70.
"It wasn't the final five minutes of the contest that did us in," Knigge said. "It was the 27 minutes before that."
Lake Forest Academy (1-0) broke open a tight ball game in the third quarter by using a 16-4 run to close the final six minutes of the period. Sophomore big man Daniel Joseph scored 6 of his 15 points in the period as the Caxys opened up a 56-42 lead into the final quarter.
"When (Mundelein) put in their second group -- kind of a hockey-line switch with five new players -- I knew we had a good group on the floor and we could attack them there, so we did," said Lake Forest Academy coach Matt Vaughn. "We got 2 or 3 steals in a row out of that and it really got things going for us."
Mundelein (0-1) responded with a run of its own led by senior Nate Williams, who scored 8 of his co-game-high 18 points in the first five minutes of the quarter to bring the Mustangs within 65-61 with 2:10 to play. Isaiah Foust scored all but one of his 18 points in the second half for Lake Forest Academy.
But foul trouble -- 5 Mustangs fouled out -- and too much pressure defense from the Caxys sealed Mundelein's fate.
"If we would have played with the same effort we brought the last five minutes the entire game I think we would have had a different situation at the end." Knigge said.
Mundelein went down shooting. To go with the 18 from Williams were 16 from sophomore Pierre Bailey and 14 from Derek Parola.
The Caxys also had double figures from Brissett who put an exclamation point on the night with a thunderous dunk for two of his 14 points.
Uplift 69, Lakes 51: Uplift raced out a 19-point halftime advantage and never looked back in the season opening win for the Titans over the Eagles at the Mundelein Thanksgiving Tournament. Jeremy Roscoe drained a trio of 3-pointers to lead all scorers with 19 for the Titans. Quintin Olagbegi (15 points) and Jamaya Wayatt (13 points) chipped in on the balanced attack for Uplift. Junior Tramone Hudson was the only Eagles player in double figures with 10 points.