The Rolling Meadows boys basketball team had been waiting for the right moment to put things together.
That moment came in the third quarter at Wheeling on Thursday night.
"We've been getting better and better," said Mustangs coach Kevin Katovich. "We just had to stick with it."
The Wildcats were the victims as the Mustangs put together a big second half to win handily 71-50 in the Mid-Suburban East.
Seniors Pat Kramp and Matt Dolan did most of the damage for Rolling Meadows (2-5, 1-1). Kramp helped key the third quarter by scoring 9 of his team-high 24 points in the third quarter.
Dolan added 22 points and pulled down 7 rebounds.
"We made sure that this one was not going to get away from us," Kramp said. "We thought it was a great move by coach to put a 1-3-1 zone defense against Wheeling because of their good shooters.
"We just came out in the third quarter with a lot of energy. The way we played in the third quarter was everything we could ask for and more."
The two teams played it close with the Mustangs holding a slim 35-33 lead at halftime after leading 18-14 following the first quarter.
Jeremy Stephani (17 points) tied the game at 35-35 with 7:20 left in the quarter.
A 7-0 run by Meadows was countered by two Wildcats (5-3, 1-1) baskets.
Kramp then hit a 3-pointer and followed it with a 3-point play.
Dolan came up with a basket which was followed by another 3-pointer by Kramp.
A free throw by Jonny Ungurean (11 points, 5 rebounds), and the Mustangs led 54-39 going into the final quarter.
Two baskets by Stephani to start the fourth quarter cut the lead to 54-43 with 6:52 remaining in the game but Wheeling could get no closer.
"Pat has improved a lot," Katovich said. "He put himself at the right spots on the floor. He really worked his butt off in practice this week, as did our other seniors. They really stepped up the offense tonight. The team really took this game to heart. You could feel it in practice."
Rolling Meadows shot 25-of-40 from the field (62 percent).
Wheeling shot 12-of-21 in the first half and 6-of-26 in the second half to finish at 38 percent for the game.
"Give them credit," said Wheeling coach Tony Como about the Mustangs. "They shot the ball very well. Kramp had the game of his life. We just didn't contest his 3's. Our defense failed us big-time tonight. We had bad second-half shots and they capitalized on it with transition baskets."
Chris Piero scored 11 points, all in the first half, for Wheeling. Teammates Josh Kim and Nate Laude each added 8 points.