Rolling Meadows' fast start dooms Wheeling
They'll meet two times this season for Mid-Suburban East games.
But on Thursday night, the Rolling Meadows and Wheeling girls basketball teams served up an appetizer in a second-round game of the Tom Kendall Pilgrim Classic Thanksgiving Tournament at Hoffman Estates High School.
With sophomore Olivia Zielinski (11 points), senior Alison Sellergren (10) and senior Emily Galvan (9) headlining the menu for the balanced offense, the Mustangs rolled to their first win in the six-team round-robin event, 59-20. They dropped a 52-46 decision to Lake Park on Tuesday and face Hampshire at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.
"The most important part is how everyone contributed," Sellergren said. "It was really fun. What really helps us is the connection between everyone in the team, Half of us are seniors and the rest underclassmen. I think hanging out with each other as a team has really helped us improve. We really enjoy having the underclassmen because they are so friendly with us."
After a driving layup by sophomore Maya Huelsman got the Wildcats (0-2) to within 7-6 with 5:21 left, the Mustangs (1-1) closed the first quarter with a 13-0 run.
Driving layups by Sellergren and Galvan began the offensive flurry which included back-to-back fast break layups by Charlotte Errico (7 points) and Emily Romanacce, who had just come off the bench for coach Ryan Kirkorsky.
Meadows didn't let up in the second quarter, going on a 17-2 run to lead 37-8 at intermission.
Two free throws by Huelsman (4 points) started the quarter and then the Mustangs went on a 17-0 run, started by Galvin's 3-pointer, a steal and layup by Moira Hickey and 2 free throws by Galvin.
Sophomore center Roisin Grandberry, the only underclass starter for Meadows, made a nifty pass inside to Zielinski, who converted a layup midway through the quarter.
Stacy Dollia showed her athleticism as the senior guard hit an off- balance 8-footer while falling to the ground for the Mustangs' penultimate field goal of the half.
Also scoring for the Mustangs were Ciara McMahon, Cassidy Pardini and Olivia Dizonno while senior guard Nicole Davis handed out 4 assists.
"Our starters got us off to a fast start," Kirkorsky said. "And we were able to get valuable minutes for all our kids."
Seniors Riana Hayes (center) and Sara Aranda (guard) each had 6 points for Wheeling, while Melissa Castro and Hueslman each had 4.
"Our second half was a whole lot better than the first," said Wheeling coach Beth Christell, the fourth straight math teacher to direct the Wheeling program.
"Riana (6-foot center) was playing AAU basketball in Indiana last year and just to have her back is nice," Christell said. "To have her presence in the middle is refreshing. And Ana (Anastacia Hardway, also a 6-foot center), a junior transfer from Niles West, gives us more good size in the middle.
"And we were glad to see Melissa (Castro) come here (transfer guard from Christian Liberty). She kind of controls the pace for us. She dices, and slices through the defense, she gets shots off and she sees the floor."