After enduring regional final defeats as a sophomore and junior, Kyra Spiwak went into Thursday's Class 4A regional final versus St. Charles North determined to make sure that this time the result would be different.
"I think that we came prepared to play," the two-time Northwest all-area team and Mid-Suburban League choice said. "We took it right at them."
Behind Spiwak's game-high 17 points and a defensive effort that held the North Stars to just 21 percent shooting (10 of 46), third-seeded Meadows beat sixth-seeded North 50-21 at Conant to earn the school's fourth-ever sectional berth and first since 2014.
The Mustangs advanced to Monday's second Glenbard West sectional semifinal against the winner of Friday's Batavia regional final between second-seeded Wheaton North and seventh-seeded Schaumburg.
"It's been our goal since I've been on varsity," Spiwak added. "I'm so excited. It's such a good feeling."
"I'm so happy for our seniors (Spiwak, guards Claire Preissing and Kelsey Nallon, forwards Morgan Campagna and Katherine Nolan). We start all five, and they've been the key to us being able the win the games that we've won this season (22)."
And the seniors' effort on the Perry Gym floor keyed a decisive performance, particularly in the game's first eight minutes.
After a 3 from freshman guard Launi Chanthaboury's gave the North Stars (19-10) a 5-4 lead at the 4:45 mark, the Mustangs began their decisive surge on consecutive treys by Preissing and Nailon.
Spiwak closed out the period by getting involved in the Mustangs' final 9 points -- setting Nolan up for 2 points at the 2:17 mark, sandwiched by 7 points of her own. That spurt ended a 15-2 run after Rolling Meadows (22-7) began the second quarter with a 19-7 lead.
Any hopes of a North Stars comeback were denies courtesy of Spiwak's younger sister, Melissa. The 5-foot-6 junior's 8 points were part of an 11-2 run that expanded the Mustangs lead to 30-9 with 2:36 left in the half. They led 30-13 at the break.
"I enjoyed her performance," Spiwak said. "It was great to see her make those shots. It gave us a huge lift."
Also providing a lift was the inside tandem of Campagna (4 points, 11 rebounds) and Nolan (6 points, 8 rebounds).
"They rolled with it tonight," said Rolling Meadows coach Ryan Kirkosky. "They were phenomenal. They were able control the paint."
A point that North Stars coach Mike Tomczak echoed.
"They took us out of our rhythm," Tomczak said. "They made their presence known.
"They're deserving of that number 3 seed. They're one of the top teams in the state. We had our looks, but when you make only 10 field goals the entire game as well as going 0 for 6 at the foul line, you're going to get your medicine handed to you."
In looking back at his first season at the helm, Tomczak wanted to stress his team's successes as well as offer praise to his five seniors -- Kasey Lindstrom, Sami Sample, Lizzy Olsem, Camryn Pozna and Aislen Kelly.
"I felt like we made great strides as a team. We began to see their growth as the year went on," Tomczak said. "Our seniors provided tremendous leadership to our team. They've set footprints that will leave an impression on our program in the years to come."