After winning two Barrington sectional games after trailing at halftime, Rolling Meadows found itself leading by 13 points in Monday's Class 4A Hoffman Estates girls basketball supersectional against New Trier.
But not so fast.
This still wasn't going to be as easy as it may have once appeared.
That's because standout guard Alexis Glasgow did not appear in the locker room at half.
Instead, she was in the trainer's room nursing an apparent broken nose.
But like all great teams do, the state-ranked Mustangs rose to the occasion without their Northwestern recruit and rolled to a 60-43 victory over the Trevians for a second straight trip to the Final Four.
Rolling Meadows (28-4) will face Geneva (26-5) and coach Sarah Meadows at 6:30 p.m. in Friday's semifinals at Illinois State's Redbird Arena.
"At halftime, we really didn't know what Lexi's situation was," said Mustangs second-year coach Ryan Kirkorsky. "We just said to our role players that they couldn't be role players now.
"We needed them to do all the things they could. If they did not step up and do all the right things, we probably would have been in bad shape."
Instead, Allie Kemph, Katie Shewmon, Elizabeth Vasilogambros and Co. stepped up with flying colors and the Mustangs never missed a beat.
New Trier never got closer than the 13 points.
Instead, Meadows extended the lead to 21 points in the third quarter when Jackie Kemph made one of her typical slicing layups for a 43-22 cushion.
"We were all a little upset when Lexi got hurt," said Jackie Kemph, who finished with a game-high 25 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals. "So we all played as hard as we could."
And as usual, no one was playing harder than 5-foot-6 Kemph, who converted 10 of Meadows' first 11 points in the final quarter including 8-of-8 free throw.
"She's the best player in the state, in my opinion," said New Trier coach Teri Rodgers, one of the top players in the state herself when she played for Libertyville. "She's hard to contain. We had two great athletes on her, (Isabella Bosco) and Jackie Welch), and she was still hard to contain.
"She was scoring against a 6-foot-3 girl (Trevians sophomore standout Jeanne Boehm). She was the best player out there."
But Kemph will be the first to tell you she got plenty of help.
"I am incredibly lucky to have this group of players out there with me." she said.
That group includes Jenny Vliet (9 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocked shots), who will join Kemph at St. Louis, and Ashley Montanez, and Indianapolis University recruit who managed to score 4 points with 4 rebounds despite limited time due to foul trouble.
Kay, who had two big 3-pointers in the third quarter against Hersey in the sectional final, had another big one in the second quarter on Monday. It helped the Mustangs pull away to the 13-point advantage at intermission.
New Trier (27-5) was led by Boehm (6 rebounds) and Welch (3 rebounds), who both scored 10 points.
"We couldn't get the shot to fall but I thought we had good looks," Rodgers said. "That was the tipping point. They hit their shots, and we didn't, and that happens sometimes. That put us in a hole and then you start to press a little."
Meadows pressed the pedal early in the second quarter.
The Mustangs led 13-10 after the first eight minutes, thanks to Kemph's bucket with 29 seconds left,
Meadows scored the first 14 points in the second quarter, with the rally including 3-pointers from Kay and Vliet.
The final points of the 14-0 run came on a layup by Glasgow with 4:34 left in the half.
With 3:27 remaining, she was hit in the face by an elbow and suffered the game-ending injury.
Glasgow returned to the bench amid cheers from the fans midway through the third quarter with her nose bandaged. She will have X-rays on Tuesday.
"It's amazing to get the great support from my teammates and fans," she said. "It was great to feel all their energy. Their support is great when someone goes down."
The Mustangs are hoping their 1,500-point scorer isn't down for too long and can return for Friday's semifinal.
It will be their second straight state semifinal after defeating Huntley in the same game a year ago.
"I think a lot of people were just saying we'd be back down there again," Kirkorsky said. "But it's tough. There's nothing harder to do and we knew we had to start from the ground floor again in the summer.
"We talked to the kids about our goal being to play on March 8. And now we will play on March 8. That's a great testament to the kids."
"It just took a lot of hard work," said Jackie Kemph. " It took everyone. This is just an awesome team. That's what it comes down to. We have eight seniors who have worked so hard for this."
And they did it for the senior who was missing on the floor for 20 minutes.
"It's always a big deal when a best player goes down," Jackie Kemph said. "Everyone else had to step up.
"Allie (Jackie's twin sister, who scored two big layups off assists from Jackie) came in and played a lot for Lexi. Allie played great defense, too. Hopefully Lexi will be back and we'll be fine."