Rolling Meadows' girls basketball team zoned in on victory at the beginning of the second half on Tuesday night.
Trailing 18-16 at intermission, the Mustangs employed a zone defense to start third quarter and it resulted in an 11-2 run from which Lake Zurich never recovered.
A basket by senior Katherine Nolan gave the Mustangs the lead for good at 21-20 and they went on to post a 47-35 win, improving to 4-0 in the Lake Zurich Turkey Thriller.
"They went zone coming out at halftime and we didn't make the passes we needed to," said Lake Zurich veteran coach Chris Bennett, who was still encouraged by his team's effort which held the Mustangs to a season-low 47 points. "It was the best game we've played. We had some young kids take steps forward."
Senior guard Kyra Spiwak led Meadows with 14 points while Nolan and Melissa Spiwak each chipped in 10.
"I thought our second half is what allowed us to win the game,' said Nolan, who scored 6 points in the final two quarters. "I'm really proud of how my team came out in the second half. We did what we needed to do to score points and we were able to get stops on defense."
And in the final 2:55, the Mustangs were able to make free throws.
A driving 6-footer by junior McKenna Zobel (game-high 17 points) got Lake Zurich to within 35-30 with 5:21 left in the game.
But the Bears (2-2 in the tourney) were never able to get closer.
Nolan's inside bucket made it 39-32 with 2:55 left and the Mustangs proceeded to close out the game by converting 8 of 10 free throws (five by Kyra Spiwak and three by Melissa Spiwak).
"You can see how experienced Ryan's team is," Bennett said. "They made some adjustments and took away some things. We try to hold teams to under 40 points and we were right there for a while. Credit their kids for making some shots."
Zobel made her share of shots, falling just 1 shy of her career-high of 18 points as a sophomore last season against Libertyville.
"We're so close," said Zobel, also a volleyball player. "It just comes down to doing the little things. We have a lot of new faces this season so we have to pay attention to the details, listen to our coaches and work as a team."
Senior Sarah Blase added 5 points, including a 3-pointer which put the Bears ahead 17-13 late in the first half. Classmate Lauryn Johnson had a pair of buckets in the third quarter.
Junior Melissa Spiwak's 3-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer gave Meadows its first lead at 9-8.
Nolan's first basket made it 11-8 to start the second quarter before Bears junior Claire Jones came off the bench to hit an inside bucket that got the hosts to within 11-10.
Lake Zurich took the lead for the remainder of the half when Zobel hit back-to-back 10-footers in the lane for a 14-13 advantage.
"We needed our zone a little tonight," said Mustangs coach Ryan Kirkorsky. "Chris (Bennett) does a great job. They run their flex offense really well.
"Offensively, we didn't really play to our strengths in the first half. And Lake Zurich really gets after it on the defensive end."
Senior Morgan Campagna chipped in 7 points for the Mustangs while junior Caili Hosler added 6, including a key 3-pointer in the second quarter.
"I thought Katherine Nolan was a calming influence throughout the game," Kirkorsky added of his 6-foot-1 Loyola bound forward. "She demanded the ball at important parts of the game."