Matthew Morrissey knew the Montini boys basketball team was facing an uphill task against De La Salle.
Throw in an early 8-2 deficit and the job becomes that much more difficult.
"They had a lot of momentum at the start," Morrissey said.
Sure, Montini tied the game at 8 after a pair of 3-pointers from Luke Morrill, but the Meteors hit the Broncos with another fast, strong and steady run that gave them a 21-10 lead.
"We missed a couple of shots at the start and we let it get in our head," Morrissey said.
De La Salle, though, never let Montini back in the game. The Meteors rolled to a wire-to-wire 77-61 Chicago Catholic League White Division victory over the Broncos.
"We got to learn to have good starts on the road," Montini coach Daryl Thomas said. "We can't start the way we started. We can't play the way we played."
Outside of the stretch were they tied it, Montini (11-5, 2-2) struggled to keep up with De La Salle in the first quarter. The Meteors forced four turnovers and pushed the pace on the Broncos.
"We were just focused on their offense, but they're fastbreak points, so they didn't really need to run any offense," junior guard Anthony Thompson said. "The ball moves faster than the man, so their man was running, they get the ball ahead of us and that's an easy layup and an easy points."
The second quarter wasn't much better for Montini.
De La Salle's defense stymied Montini, and the offense was just as hot. The Meteors shot 11 of 14 from the field, committed only one turnover and had 6 assists in the second quarter. De La Salle took a 51-31 lead at the half.
"All teams know when they're feeling it," Thompson said. "When you feel it, you just let it fly. I'm pretty sure they felt it. Like everybody saw, they let it fly and it was going in. It was a good offense day for them."
Thomas' halftime instructions were short, sweet and straight to the point.
"He just told us this is where we show how we're men and how were not going to roll over, we're going to fight back," Thompson said. "He said slow chips. We're not going to get it back in all one possession."
And for a time it looked like the Broncos were going to get back in the game. Through the third quarter, Montini chipped at the deficit, keeping it under 20 points.
"Take smart shots, work the offense, play defense," Morrissey said. "Normal basketball stuff."
At the start of the third quarter, Kai Evans fed Thompson for a 3-pointer and on the Broncos ensuing possession, Thompson hit a pair of free throws that cut the deficit to 61-49.
"I was trying to push it so we can score and have as much time as we could," Thompson said.
But De La Salle, like much of the night, had an answer. The Meteors' David Pinskus dunked to get the lead back to 14, and Montini could never get it closer than 13 the rest of the game.
"They just came down and they had an answer," Thompson said. "It's frustrating. It seems like you're going and then they're knocking down the shot or getting an and-1 or getting layups so then it kind of puts you back to where you were.
"We just came up short today."