Maine West's 24-1 run seals win over Rolling Meadows
Maine West forward Danny Rice will be the first to admit that a tongue-lashing from Warriors head boys basketball coach Tom Prokopij was warranted in the third quarter during a timeout.
"He (Rice) made a selfish play with two defenders on him when he shot the ball," said Prokopij. "He didn't look for an open player. He wasn't focused on the best shot by looking for an open player. He was focused on his shot."
When Rice re-entered the line up he started cooking.
Trailing 33-25 to visiting Rolling Meadows, Rice hit a 3-pointer to ignite the Warriors to a 52-36 nonconference win Saturday in Des Plaines.
"I needed that from coach after a few bad possessions," said Rice. "It helped me get back in the game. I knew I had to get my head in the game by playing harder and sharing the ball."
Following the basket by Rice, who had 10 points and 6 rebounds, the Mustangs (10-8) scored on a drive to the basket by Jonah Ogunsanya (9 points) to lead 35-28.
Rolling Meadows would score one more point in the game from Brandon Zuniga on a free throw with 16 seconds left to play.
Maine West (9-8) rolled up a 24-1 run to finish the game.
Jacob Riedl converted a 3-point play on an assist from Rice for a 36-35 lead with 7:02 left in the fourth quarter.
Moments later Rice assisted Riedl on an alley-oop play.
"Riedl is such a great leaper," said Rice. "He's coming on for us. When Danny Kentgen hit that 3-poiny basket that was the dagger."
Kentgen's trey with 3:50 left made the score 43-35. Kentgen also had 5 assists for the game.
Moments later Rice scored on an assist from Justin Scholler (9 points). Scholler then hit 2 free throws and a basket and the Mustangs could not recover.
"What got us rolling," said Prokopij, "is that we started making defensive stops and stopped turning the ball over. It's nice to go 2-0 over the weekend and get us a game over .500."
Despite the loss, Rolling Meadows coach Kevin Katovich saw some positives.
"Daniel Sobkowicz (10 points, 7 rebounds) had a real nice game for us and I think he's turning the corner," said Katovich. "I was proud of the kids the way they battled. They (Maine West) turned up the defensive play and we made some mental mistakes in the fourth quarter."
Rolling Meadows is hoping for the return of Max Christie (thigh) and Javonte Warrener (shoulder) on Friday when the Mustangs host Elk Grove.