On a night when both teams found their offense deserting them, Rolling Meadows' John Lothery was like an oasis.
Lothery was instant offense for the Mustangs. The sophomore scored all of his 11 points in just over two minutes of the third quarter to help host Rolling Meadows pull away from Buffalo Grove 41-33 on Saturday in Mid-Suburban East play.
Lothery was on the sophomore team until just after Christmas. He entered the game with both teams having trouble finding the bottom of the basket and Rolling Meadows leading 17-16 with 3:41 left in the third quarter.
Lothery nailed a 3 to help ignite a 13-2 run to close out the quarter with Meadows up 30-19.
During that span Lothery hit three triples and dropped a pair of free throws to give the Mustangs some breathing room.
"I was just looking for some open shots," said Lothery, who had scored just 9 points in his 3 previous varsity games. "My teammates got me the ball and I didn't want to disappoint them. It felt real good to be able to contribute out there."
Rolling Meadows coach Kevin Katovich said he liked the energy that Lothery and freshman Jack Schoessling gave to the team.
"That is why they are up on this team. Lothery came up big for us," Katovich said. "I was really proud of our seniors as well. They have overcome a lot of adversity and took it upon themselves to rally our troops. And it paid off."
Nothing was paying off for either team early. Both teams combined to hit on just 3 of 17 shots in the first quarter and turned the ball over 8 times as Buffalo Grove (6-12, 1-5) led 5-4 after the first quarter.
After Lothery sparked the Mustangs (8-10, 3-3) to the lead after three quarters, Rolling Meadows went cold again, going scoreless for the first six minutes of the final quarter.
But Buffalo Grove, which shot 22 percent (9-for-41) couldn't take advantage of the opportunity. The Bison did close to 30-25 on a 3-point basket by Andrew Apel (16 points) with 2:01 to play but that is as close as Buffalo Grove would get.
The Mustangs then found their offense again. Matt Dolan, who scored 4 points and had 11 rebounds, scored two quick baskets to spark an 8-0 run to end the threat.
"Our offense really struggled, but our defense always holds in there," said Dolan, who had 7 rebounds in the fourth quarter. "If scoring is not what we are doing, we have to rely on defense and rebounding."
Jonny Ungurean had 7 rebounds for the Mustangs while Schoessling and Pat Kramp each had 6 points.
Buffalo Grove coach Keith Peterson, who got 7 points each from Scott Smithern and Ryan Williams said his team had opportunities, but just not capitalize on them.
"I thought we played really hard," Williams said. "We were patient early. But after that I thought we were a little rushed and too frustrated from the shots not going in."