Rolling Meadows beats Hoffman to finish 4-1 at tourney
Five tough tournament games.
Four wins, including a big victory to cap the invite.
Not a bad way to spend the Thanksgiving holidays -- or start the season, for that matter -- for the Rolling Meadows girls basketball team.
The Mustangs defeated Hoffman Estates 70-30 Saturday at the Hawks' Tom Kendall Pilgrim Classic to finish with a 4-1 tourney record.
Meadows won with an extremely balanced stat sheet, as senior Alison Sellergren scored 16 points, classmate Emily Galvan had 14, sophomore Emily Romanacce hit for 12 points, all in the paint, and junior Charlotte Errico pitched in with 10.
The Mustangs broke open a close game with a flurry of points just before halftime, then a 22-2 run to start the third.
"In the first half, I thought Hoffman was playing a lot harder than we were," said Meadows coach Ryan Kirkorsky. "That made it difficult for us. Our kids kind of simplified the game in the second half, which got us a few open looks."
Meadows also did a good job of limiting the opportunities for Hawks star guard Ashley Oliver.
Oliver still had a great game -- she was 5-of-6 from beyond the 3-point line and finished with a game high 19 points in only 3 quarters of play -- but tight defense from the Mustangs prevented the senior from doing even more damage.
"She shot the lights out in the first half," said Kirkorsky of Oliver, "and put a lot of pressure on our defense. She's a great player, but I think our kids adjusted a little bit and tried to take away some of her looks."
Hoffman coach Brad Reibel agreed that Oliver is exceptional.
"She's had an outstanding year so far," said Reibel. "We definitely lean on her for scoring and she does a nice job of that."
Just before halftime, a steal by Galvan, then a nifty pass by Nicole Davis to Errico for a layup, and another layup at the buzzer by Errico put Meadows up 33-18 at intermission.
Then the Mustangs turned on the jets to begin the second half, and the big run was keyed by the play of 6-foot-4 sophomore center Roisin Grandberry.
Grandberry had 3 blocked shots, fed Romanacce inside for a couple of layups, made a steal and dished to Sellergren for a 3, and made a nice pass from the high post to Romanacce for another layup.
And when Romanacce scored again near the end of the third quarter, Meadows led 57-20.
In the fourth quarter, the benches cleared and a lot of competitors from each team got some extended playing time.
Jillian Cuartero had a fourth quarter 3-pointer for Hoffman, while Ciara McMahon canned a long 3 for the Mustangs.
"After halftime our kids were just stronger with the ball," said Kirkorsky, "and made the easy basketball plays, and that led to success for us."
Junior Cassidy Parini scored 5 points for Meadows, as the Mustangs were 8-for-15 from 3-point land through 3 quarters.
Galvan and Grandberry each had four 3s for the Mustangs, while Molly Cochran hit a 3-pointer for the Hawks.
"We have a bunch of things we can improve on, like taking care of the basketball," said Reibel. "That's what we've been preaching. It's day to day, and we're hoping to improve each time out."