Christie, Meadows hold off Conant

 
By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 1/8/2019 10:49 PM
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Max Christie showed Tuesday why he is the full package.

The Rolling Meadows sophomore was once again impressive, scoring 28 points in his teams's 55-51 Mid-Suburban League crossover boys basketball win over visiting Conant.

But it was the rest of his game that showed why he is one of the most sought after 2021 players in the nation.

Christie hit a trio of 3-pointers. He also had 11 rebounds, 5 blocked shots, 4 assists and 3 steals for the Mustangs (10-5).

"Max does what he always does," Rolling Meadows coach Kevin Katovich said.

"What I really thought he did was make the extra pass and find the open guy. He just does a little bit of everything for us. He is so unselfish."

Christie said that he knows the importance of the rest of his game and what it means to his team.

"It is not just scoring," Christie said. "As long as we win. This was a great win for us."

This was the first post-Christmas tournament action for both teams as they returned to school this week. The teams were each 2-2 at the York Jack Tosh tournament over the holidays.

Conant (7-9), thanks to the play of Rajat Mittal who finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds, led 15-11 after the fist quarter. The Cougars also nailed three 3-pointers in the quarter.

Christie moved his game to the next level in the second quarter.

His playmaking and scoring got the rest of the Mustangs fired up. They forced 5 turnovers in the second quarter and slid ahead 30-25 at the break thanks to a pair of putbacks by Christie.

Mittal had his way in the first half, scoring 13 points, all of which came inside the paint.

With Jace O'Hara and Sean Nolan on him in the second half, Mittal was limited to just 5 points as the Mustangs were able to open up a 45-37 lead early in the fourth quarter.

"I was really proud of our guys, especially in the third quarter," Katovich said. "Defensively Jace O'Hara and Sean Nolan did a great job on Mittal in the second half."

O'Hara, who would foul out late in the fourth quarter, said stopping Mittal was key to the Mustangs' success defensively.

"We really wanted to keep Mittal away from the basket," O'Hara said. "We wanted to try to limit his rebounds and take away their offense."

The strategy worked as Rolling Meadows opened up a 51-42 lead with 3 minutes to play.

The Mustangs then went cold from the free throw line, missing three one-and-one opportunities and just converting 4-of-11 down the stretch.

Conant couldn't completely capitalize on the opportunity and the Cougars never got closer than 3.

"We did a decent job in the first half," Conant coach Jim Maley said. "We didn't make plays. I thought we had opportunities at the end of the game. This one was a tough one."

Javonte Warrener had 12 points for Rolling Meadows while Devon Ellis added 10 points for Conant.

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