Grayslake Central's Mussay puts defense on display
Madeline Mussay applied a bag of ice to a couple of her team-leading statistics.
Grayslake Central's senior point guard picked up a couple of more bruises during the Rams' 69-34 win over host Grayslake North on Wednesday night. She iced her left elbow, which twice landed hard on the court.
"She leads the team in charges taken, too," Grayslake Central coach Steve Ikenn said.
A tough athlete who also plays soccer, the 5-foot-6 Mussay is used to playing hard and paying a price for it.
"Normally it's just falling or taking charges," Mussay said. "Lots of bruises."
In helping Grayslake Central improve to 18-3 and 8-0 in the Northern Lake County Conference with its 10th win in a row, Mussay tallied 8 points and 7 steals, while also taking a charge. She did all of that in the first half in helping the Rams put up 49 points.
"I try to do as much as I can on defense," Mussay said. "Defense helps with offense."
The Rams have plenty of offense, led by Kate Bullman, who led all scorers with 23 points (three 3-pointers), 13 of which came in her team's 31-point outburst in the second quarter.
Grayslake Central shot 18 of 30 from the floor in the first two quarters in building a 30-point advantage.
"They were shooting the ball well," coach Roger Lass said after his Knights fell to 8-13 and 3-5 in the NLCC. "Bullman's going to get hers, and [No.] 12 [Amanda Kocialkowski] was on fire too. We got to stop something, and some people are going to be open when you do that."
Kocialkowski and MK Drevline (three 3s) added 13 and 11 points, respectively, for Grayslake Central. Bullman also had 11 rebounds (9 in the third quarter), 6 steals, 5 assists and 3 blocks. The Rams, who stretched their NLCC winning streak to 28 games, looked en route to posting their fifth 70-point effort of the season, before scoring just 2 points in the fourth quarter.
"We move the ball well," Ikenn said. "It's nice because we've got a balanced attack. We got kids who can hit outside shots, we got kids who can drive to the basket, and we generate a lot off our defense getting some fast breaks. That's the easiest offense to run, if you get a steal and a fastbreak."
Enter Mussay, whose defensive abilities complement the offense of Bullman, Kocialkowski and Drevline.
"I've been saying all along, she's so underrated," Ikenn said of Mussay. "They look at Kate and MK and Amanda, and [Madeline] just flies under the radar. I'm good with that. [Laughing] I'm glad if nobody [on other teams] notices her.
"She's a heck of a defender. She runs our offense. She's the engine out there."
A backup guard last season, Mussay has embraced her starting role this winter and knows where she fits in.
"We have a lot of great scorers on the team, and everyone's a threat, so I try to do the best I can to help my teammates," she said. "I'll take shots when I'm open. I love playing defense."
Peyton Gerdes had 13 points and 5 rebounds for Grayslake North, which played without starting guard Jayden Curtis, who was ill. Faith Standerski had 9 points for the Knights.