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Deerfield rained 3-pointers on Rolling Meadows to spoil the Mustangs' season opener Tuesday at the Ed Molitor Thanksgiving Classic at Palatine.
Deerfield nailed 5 three-pointers in the fourth quarter and also forced 6 turnovers in the period to rally past Rolling Meadows 60-53.
"I thought we played well at times," Rolling Meadows coach Kevin Katovich said. "Especially in the first half. I thought that the difference was that their experience came through at the end."
Rolling Meadows, which was returning just one starter from last year, ran off 6 unanswered points late in the first half behind the play of that returning starter, Matt Dolan, to build a 24-18 lead just before the end of the first half.
"I started off in the first half getting in the post a lot," said Dolan, who finished with 14 points and 9 rebounds. "In the second half I lost my composure a bit and couldn't finish as well."
While Dolan was having trouble finishing, the Mustangs still continued to lead 42-36 with a minute left in the third quarter. Pat Kramp, who led the Mustangs with 19 points and 7 rebounds, dropped 3 of his 6 3-pointers in the third quarter to keep Rolling Meadows in charge.
"The team did a great job of setting me up for the threes," said Kramp, who had a career-high night for scoring. "I found the ball and made my shots. There is not much more than I could ask for. I got some great looks at the basket."
Calvin Gunn, who finished with 8 points, hit a 3 for the Mustangs with 7:21 to play to keep Rolling Meadows ahead 45-41.
But Deerfield, which had hit 6 of 20 three-pointers to that point, finally found their range. The Warriors connected on treys on their next 4 possessions with Eric Porter (24 points) and Jack Gurvey (11 points) each hitting two as Deerfield opened up a 53-48 lead with 3:44 to play.
Rolling Meadows closed to 54-51 on a 3 by Jonny Ungurean and trailed 57-53 with just over a minute to play. But the Mustangs had a turnover, failed to block out on a missed free throw that resulted in an offensive rebound and then an offensive foul as Deerfield pulled away.
"Things got tight and we did some careless things," Katovich said. "Especially in the last minute. They executed and we didn't."
Despite the loss, Katovich was pleased at how well his team competed.
"The good news is that we have the horses to compete," Katovich said. "They (Deerfield) are a very good team. We stepped on our feet a few times and we didn't help ourselves. But we saw that we have some guys who can play. I thought we did a nice job of attacking the basket."