Rolling Meadows rallies to beat Maine West

 
By Greg Swiderski
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 1/18/2020 10:36 PM

For three quarters of Saturday night's boys basketball game against Maine West, Rolling Meadows did not rebound well, pressure the ball well on defense, or spread points around.

Luckily for the host Mustangs there was still the fourth quarter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Trailing 49-40 early in the quarter, Rolling Meadows bounced back with a 64-58 win over the stubborn Warriors in a nonconference tilt.

"In the first half we still had a bit of a lull from the night before," said Rolling Meadows coach Kevin Katovich. "We gritted it out. We made some adjustments in the second half. Once we started making some shots it opened some things up for us."

Maine West (6-11) caused the 12-5 Mustangs problems with their defense for most of the game.

Senior guard Sean Collins, a strong defender, used his abilities to slow Meadows' junior Max Christie down at times.

"We spent a lot of time in practice trying to figure out how to stop Christie," said Collins. "We did not want to go one-on-one with him. We wanted to keep him out of the paint. I pride myself in playing solid defense."

Christie would finish with 26 points, including 14 of 17 from the free-throw line. Christie scored 12 points in the crucial fourth quarter.

Cameron Christie (13 points) hit a 3-pointer with two minutes left in the game on an assist from Sean Nolan to give Rolling Meadows the lead for good at 56-54.

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"That was a big play for us," said Katovich. "He had a real good night."

Max Christie followed that with an offensive rebound basket and two free throws to make the score 60-54 with 57 seconds left.

Maine West's Jared Pearson (16 points) hit two free throws with 49 seconds left to close to 60-56. However, Max Christie hit two free throws and Nolan one for a 63-56 lead with 20 seconds left and Meadows held on.

"We didn't want to lose two games in a row when we fell behind by nine," said Max Christie. "Nolan made some big plays for us in the second half. He played very physical."

"Max and Sean really showed some good leadership for us," said Katovich. "We were a little down after we lost last night. We challenged the guys and they stepped up for us. Cameron played a strong game for us also scoring 13 points."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Warriors were aggressive from the start in part by mixing shots from the inside and outside.

Lucas Glaister, who would finish with 21 points including five 3-pointers, started Maine West in the right direction scoring 7 of his team's 10 first-quarter points.

The combination of Glaister and Pearson continued to work well as Maine West only trailed 23-22 as the first half ended.

Glaister scored 11 points in the third quarter, Jacob Riedl six and Pearson four as Maine West led 46-40 at quarter's end.

"Our kids get excited playing in big games," said Maine West coach Tom Prokopij. "We like being the underdogs. As for tonight Collins knows what he has to do on defense and lays it on the line. He executes the game plan."

Max Christie knew what it would take to make the fourth-quarter comeback.

"We needed to rebound, spread points and play better defense," he said. "I just had to play my game. It's easy to get caught up in a physical game and let it get into your head. I just focused on what we had to do to get the win for us."

The Mustangs collected 11 of their 29 rebounds in the final quarter. Max Christie had a total of eight and Nolan five. Dan Kentgen had 6 rebounds for the Warriors.

"We just have to figure out how to be more consistent," said Collins. "We can't have lapses like we had in the fourth quarter tonight."

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