Rolling Meadows senior guard Gio Carrillo said his team has a motto: Defense leads to offense.
It's a credo common in basketball but easier said than done. Saturday at Glenbard South the Mustangs executed it to gain a 59-56 nonconference win in Glen Ellyn, their fifth straight victory.
Trailing by a point in the last 40 seconds, Carrillo and teammate Willis Goodwin trapped a Raider near the home bench. Goodwin came up with the turnover followed by a quick Rolling Meadows timeout.
Executing just as Mustangs coach Kevin Katovich designed, again from the near sideline Max Christie passed to Carrillo, who laced a 3 near the top of the arc for the go-ahead basket with 22.4 seconds to play. Christie followed with a free throw with 0.9 seconds left to account for the final score.
"Credit to my teammate," Carrillo said of Christie, the 6-foot-4 freshman guard who scored a team-high 17 points with 8 rebounds.
"He just made the right play, found me. I set him a ball screen and he was supposed to read it. He made the right read and I just hit the shot."
It was a little frustration, a little satisfaction for Glenbard South (9-12). The Raiders committed 15 turnovers and made 12 of 26 free throws, 0 for 4 in a three-second span before Carrillo's shot.
But 7 straight points -- on Brandon Whiteside's lay-in, Tommy Powers' two free throws and Tavion Keith's 3-pointer -- had put Glenbard South in position to win, up 56-55 with 1:40 to play.
"Overall I'm pleased with the effort and if we keep playing like that we'll be fine coming down the stretch here," said Raiders coach Wade Hardtke.
Led by Christie, and Joe Coen off the bench, Rolling Meadows (10-9) led 18-9 after one quarter, and 28-21 at halftime.
Starting the third quarter, however, Glenbard South found center Spencer Pyle inside the Mustangs' 1-2-2 zone defense for 10 of Pyle's 11 points. That also opened driving lanes for Raiders senior guard Whiteside, and the game was tied 41-41 entering the fourth quarter.
"We made a few adjustments at halftime and we came out with a lot more energy and we just kept on attacking the basket more. We attacked gaps in the zone," said Whiteside, who scored a game-high 20 points while handling the defensive assignment on Christie.
Tristan Blake scored 10 points for Glenbard South, matching Carrillo and Goodwin for Rolling Meadows.
"We have gamers," Katovich said. "These guys are such high-character kids that no matter what's happening in the game we know we're never really out of it. They just keep battling and they leave their hearts out on the court and they're really just a pleasure to coach because they are such great kids to try to do the right thing."