The first four minutes of the North Suburban Conference Lake Division boys basketball opener for host Mundelein against Warren on Friday night was worth watching for the Mustangs and coach Brian Evans.
Since Mundelein hadn't played a game in 13 days, the rust, if there was any, was sure to show in that span.
Not only was there no rust on the game of the Lady Mustangs in the first four minutes, but they were downright squeaky clean for all 32 minutes, and they did so at the expense of the Blue Devils.
Thanks in large part to an 18-point, 5 rebound performance from junior Maggie Mahar and a 13-point, 4 steal effort from senior Lauren Rouse, Mundelein rolled in its conference opener 57-25 over Warren. It was the second loss in conference and fourth loss in a row for Warren (1-6, 0-2).
"The first four minutes of the game is what we talked about as coaches," Evans said. "Our practices over the last two weeks have been really hard and really good where we ramped our intensity level on defense, and we came out with that tonight."
Mundelein (4-2, 1-0) had trouble shaking Warren through the first four minutes. Warren was within 13-9 late in the first quarter and trailed only 15-10 after one quarter.
From there, the Mundelein defense took over and Warren couldn't recover from the pressure and trapping by the Mustangs.
"We looked up and we weren't down that much," Warren coach John Stanczykiewicz said. "We handled the front of their pressure well, but then turnovers led to us hanging our heads some and things started to get away from us."
A 12-2 burst to open the second quarter saw the lead move into double figures where it would stay the remainder of the night. A big spark for Mundelein in the quarter was the play of junior Jamie Hemmer. Her 9 points in the quarter outscored Warren (4 points) and helped the hosts to a 3014 halftime advantage.
"I feel like once one of us gets going we all get going," said Hemmer, who also contributed 6 rebounds. "We busted our butts in practice this week because we knew Warren was a good team and we had to be ready."
The offense flowed through Mahar in the third quarter, and it was her defense as well that helped the Mustangs outscore Warren 17-1 in the period. Mahar missed just 1 shot, scoring 7 points in the period. She was joined on the score sheet by Rouse who chipped in with 6 of her 13 in the period.
"We all came out really excited to play tonight," Mahar said. "We had a really good week of practice and we were just ready to play."
Warren senior Kristen O'Brien led the Devils with 9 points.