Rolling Meadows finds the range at Palatine
It didn't seem to matter where Rolling Meadows was shooting from Tuesday.
The bottom line is, the Mustangs were able to find the bottom of the basket with great regularity from long distance.
Rolling Meadows converted 13 of 21 shots from 3-point range at Palatine. That included a rainbow shot by Gio Carrillo with 2.1 seconds left in overtime to lift the Mustangs past the Pirates 69-65.
"It just kind of rolled to me, and I hit it," said Carrillo, who finished with 28 points. "I kind of knew we were at crunch time. I knew -- had to catch and shoot."
Rolling Meadows (15-11) trailed 65-64 with just 5 seconds to play and Palatine shooting a free throw. After Palatine missed the front end of a one and one, the Mustangs' Max Christie rebounded the miss.
Christie immediately drove down the court and attempted to shoot the ball just inside the free throw lane. Palatine's Johnny O'Shea blocked the shot, and the ball rolled to Carrillo on the far right wing. Carrillo picked it up quickly and lofted a long shot that never touched iron.
"Gio hit a great shot at the end," said Christie, who finished with 25 points. "I wanted to get to the free throw line and pick up a foul."
On this night, it was better to be shooting 3-pointers -- Carrillo hit 5 of 10 including 2 in overtime. Christie was 4 of 6 from outside the arc, while Ryan Carney (10 points) had 2 triples and Javonte Warrener and Joe Coen both had one.
"I was proud of the way our guys came out and played," Rolling Meadows coach Kevin Katovich said. "We never gave up, especially in the second part of overtime."
Palatine (17-12) was no slouch from the perimeter, either. The Pirates knocked down seven 3-pointers, with Lamon Berry (18 points) banging down 4 and Jake Moertl nailing a shot from the corner with 33.7 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 59.
Palatine also got strong inside play from Cortez Hogans, who had a career-high 25 points to go with 12 rebounds. Johnny O'Shea had 15 points, including a pair of baskets in overtime.
Palatine appeared to be in control with a minute left in overtime and leading 65-62. But the Pirates turned the ball over 3 times and missed the front end of a pair of one-and-one free throw attempts.
The game was tremendously entertaining between a pair of teams that had nothing to play for but pride. Palatine, which shared the MSL West title, and Rolling Meadows, which was second in the East, had completed conference play, and the state playoff seeds were announced last week. Still, both teams battled like it was Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
"What a fun game," said Kotovich, whose team will play next in the Class 4A Niles North regional next Wednesday against St. Viator. "I can't remember being part of a high school basketball game quite like that. It was two teams that gave everything they had. We hope to build off of this next week."
Palatine coach Eric Millstone agreed that the game had a special feel to it.
"It was a real entertaining game," Millstone said. "Unfortunately, we are not just in the entertainment business, so this one stings a little bit."
Millstone's team next plays at Waukegan, where the Pirates meet the host Bulldogs next Tuesday. He knows his team can turn things around.
"There are still a lot of positives we can build on," Millstone said. "And what we didn't do well is correctable. It is a matter of understanding that there are no more do-overs after this."