Rolling Meadows gives St. Ignatius a battle
Not too many people were giving Rolling Meadows much of a chance to defeat St. Ignatius at the Jack Tosh 41st annual Holiday Tournament in Elmhurst Monday afternoon.
But Rolling Meadows (4-6) gave the Catholic League entry all it could handle before succumbing in the final minute. When the final buzzer sounded the Wolfpack edged the Mustangs 55-53.
"They made one more play than we did," said Mustangs coach Kevin Katovich. "I am really proud of they way our team battled them."
Rolling Meadow will meet Schaumburg in a consolation bracket game at noon Saturday.
Rolling Meadows' 2-3 zone kept St. Ignatius (8-1) off balance for the first half. The Wolfpack were not able to drive inside often, and when they did missed shots were hauled down by the smaller Mustangs.
Sophomore Jared Murphy inflicted the most damage, hitting on 10 of 13 shots from the field and finishing with 23 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists.
His play and the steady play of Matt Wojcik (15 points) led Rolling Meadows to a 17-8 first-quarter lead, and a 27-16 lead with 3:00 left in the first half.
St. Ignatius began to close the gap and trailed 29-21 at the break.
Trey Mack (11 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) began to put the clamps on Murphy, who'd scored 14 first-half points, limiting him to one basket in the third quarter. Murphy broke free for 8 points in the fourth quarter.
The Mustangs still lead 37-29 with 2:49 left in the quarter but went scoreless the rest of the way. St. Ignatius finished with a 8-0 run, with William Fleming (13 points) hitting for a basket and then a 3 to tie the game at 37.
The teams exchanged the lead seven times before Murphy hit a corner 3 for a 49-48 lead with 1:18 left.
The Mustangs were able to get the ball back but committed a costly turnover when Riley Doody came up with a steal and assisted to Martin Langhenry for the layup and a 50-49 lead with :43 left.
Rolling Meadows lost the ball on the ensuing inbounds play, giving the ball to the Wolfpack. Doody converted a 3-point play for a 53-49 lead. Jack Schoessling (12 points) scored for the Mustangs, but Fleming countered with :11 left. Wojcik scored the final Mustang basket with :04 left.
"They got off to a good start and just played well," said St. Ignatius coach Rich Kehoe of the Mustangs. "We knew they had been playing well. It was a typical nail-biter but we found a way to win. Mack played well for us in the second half. This was probably the best he's played this year for us."
"We did all the things we should be doing in the first half," said Murphy. "In the second half we did not box out as well and they got a lot of second-half chances. We made some sloppy passes. It was tough to lose this one. We have to come back tomorrow and be able to play strong."
St. Ignatius had four putbacks and out rebounded the Mustangs 29-18.