Cameron Chrstie ices Meadows' win over Prospect
Little brother now has some ammunition.
"Whenever we work out, he always makes his free throws, and I always miss, and he always talks about it, too," Rolling Meadows freshman guard Cameron Christie said with a smile while talking about big brother Max Christie, a junior guard for the Mustangs.
"I can get him back now."
On Thursday, in the final moments of a nip-and-tuck boys basketball game with Mid-Suburban League East rival Prospect, Max Christie missed the front end of a 1-and-1 that could have given Rolling Meadows a two-possession lead with 25 seconds left.
But after a defensive stop by Rolling Meadows at the other end, Cameron Christie got immediately fouled and sank both of his free throws. He then hit two more with under 10 seconds to play to ice a 60-54 victory for the Mustangs and give himself free throw bragging rights for the night against big brother.
"I just needed to calm down because everyone was screaming and I was like 'Just focus on the hoop and make the free throw because all we need is one.' But then I made 4 and helped the team win the game and that's all I wanted."
Make no mistake, though, Max Christie, one of the top-ranked juniors in the country, also helped Rolling Meadows (14-6, 6-1 MSL East) win the game.
The Mustangs got off to a slow start, and Prospect was hitting all kinds of shots on its way to a 10-0 lead and a 19-8 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
The Knights still had a comfy lead (31-22) at halftime, but Christie, who was being watched from the stands by Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, was about to make life much less comfortable.
Christie, who had 10 points at halftime, came out possessed in the third quarter, hitting 4-of-6 shots for 9 points. By the latter stages of the third quarter, Prospect was clinging to a 39-38 lead.
The Knights still finished the third up 45-40, but then Christie scored Rolling Meadows' first eight points of the fourth quarter, capped by a steal and thunderous dunk, and Rolling Meadows took its first lead of the game, 48-47 with 4 minutes to play.
"Our guys were excited to play and early on, they executed about as well as they could and we hit shots and had 10 offensive rebounds in the first half and we controlled what we could," Prospect coach John Camardella said. "And then ... Max Christie happened. And that was the story of the second half."
Christie scored 19 of his game-high 29 points in the second half.
Little brother Cameron Christie was the Mustangs' only other double-figure scorer with 12 points.
Yet, in spite of the tag-team effort from the Christie brothers, Prospect (10-11 overall, 4-3 MSL East) still hung in there and cut its deficit to 3 points (57-54) with just 10 seconds to play on a Matt Woloch putback.
But then it was time for a couple more of Cameron Christie's clutch free throws.
"We've had some tough starts this year, so more than anything else, we wanted to make sure we got off to a hot start in this game and we did," said Prospect senior forward Brian Dini, who played a big role in the early barrage by the Knights, scoring 9 of his 13 points in the first quarter. "I was just trying to get to the basket early and draw fouls. That was my mentality.
"But they got back in this game because of Max. He just took over. He's a really good player obviously. I've got to give credit to him."
Junior forward Chase Larsen also had 13 points for Prospect, as did Woloch.
"We knew that Prospect is such a good team and so well coached that they were going to come out with a lot of fire and intensity," Rolling Meadows coach Kevin Katovich said. "They made a lot of shots early but we just stuck to the process that we always talk about and knew we could battle back.
"We've been hit with the flu bug a little bit and some injuries so I told Max that tonight is a game where he had to do more, and I'm just really proud of him."