Early in the boys basketball season, Rolling Meadows coach Kevin Katovich knew there would be some growing pains with his young squad, and that the development of freshman Max Christie could be a key element in the team's success.
Friday night in Grace Gym on the campus of Christian Liberty Academy, Christie looked like a player who continues to develop nicely. He came up with one of his best performances of the season on District 214's Basketball Showcase night, according to Katovich.
"Max did everything tonight -- points, defense, rebounding, assists," Katovich said. "It was his best all-around game."
Christie helped lead the Mustangs to a 66-44 win over Elk Grove with 23 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.
"We played as a team tonight and because of that we got a good win," Christie said. "We have three games left in the regular season and we want to get those wins."
Rolling Meadows improved to 12-11, and more importantly 6-3 in the Mid-Suburban East. A win next Friday at Hersey would mean a second-place finish in the division behind Prospect.
The Grenadiers fell to 2-22 and 0-9 in the conference.
"Our players give us everything they have," said Elk Grove coach Anthony Furman. "Our 20 turnovers were just too much to overcome. We hung tough with them. We were tied at 11 after the first quarter. We led 18-16 in the second quarter and cut their lead to 41-31 before they went on another run and we couldn't overcome it."
"Our players played a good, balanced game," said Katovich. "Our players did what they were supposed to do on the floor. Gio Carrillo (13 points) had a good game, Ryan Carney (8 points, 7 rebounds) hit the boards and the bench players (17 points) helped. It was a good team win."
After Shivam Amin's 3-pointer gave the Grenadiers their last lead at 18-16 with 5:08 left in the second quarter, the Mustangs came to life.
Javonte Warrener's 3-pointer gave Meadows the lead again and started an 11-0 run for a 27-18 halftime lead.
Christie scored 5 points in a 10-0 run to start the second half to cap a 21-0 run over a seven-minute span that built the lead to 37-18.
Sean Cherry heated up for Elk Grove by scoring 5 of his 15 points in the quarter, cutting the lead to 41-27 heading into the fourth period.
Cherry scored two baskets for Elk Grove to start the fourth quarter, narrowing the deficit to 41-31.
Rolling Meadows went on an 11-0 run which was part of a 15-2 rally to open a 56-33 lead with 4:46 left in the game.
Elk Grove's Dylan Ingebrigtsen scored 6 points with 8 rebounds.
Christie showed some high-level moves to the basket in the second half which wooed the large crown at Grace Gym.
"Getting used to the speed of the game on the varsity level is important," Christie said. "When I go to the gym to work on my moves they become part of your game. It gets to the point where what you do comes naturally. I wouldn't be having the success that I am without my teammates. They work to make me a better player."