Meadows shows its mettle in beating Burlington Central
Despite going unbeaten during the COVID-shortened spring season, Rolling Meadows' boys basketball team is looking to build its resume.
The Mustangs made a significant addition to their work history Saturday with an impressive 68-44 win over Burlington Central at the South Elgin shootout.
Rolling Meadows (7-1) had plenty of details to go with the win.
Using their length on defense the Mustangs limited Burlington Central to 31% (19-of-62) shooting. They also were dominant on the boards with 38-21 advantage.
Rolling Meadows coach Kevin Katovich hopes that this body of work will resonate with the other 31 coaches at York when they vote Sunday for seeds in the Jack Tosh Holiday Tournament.
"We want to play teams with different styles of play," Katovich said. "We had a lot of film on these guys. We knew that they are really good. They are really physical and big. We were looking forward to playing them and seeing where we are at. It all started with rebounds and defense."
Meadows defense excelled with Cameron Christie and Orlando Thomas up top. They were joined by 6-foot-5 Ian Miletic (7 points, 5 rebounds), 6-7 Mark Nikolich-Wilson (7 rebounds), 6-7 Tsvet Sotirov (9 rebounds) and 6-4"Foster Ogbonna (12 points, 6 rebounds) coming off the bench. They all kept the Rockets from exploding.
"Cameron and I, with our length, is a tough matchup," said Thomas, who had 21 points and 5 rebounds.
"We are so long, we can close out on shooters. We are able to gamble a little bit because we have so much size down low. By the time the ball gets down there, they run into giants."
Christie finished with 22 points and 4.
"Every single game and every single practice we are trying to get that rebound," Christie said. "We are big this year and we can be an elite rebounding team. We try to make sure that everyone crashes and everyone gets involved in the boards in every game."
Burlington Central (6-2), which was playing without standout Gavin Sarvis, scored the first 5 points of the game. Meadows then answered with a quartet of 3-pointers and the Mustangs never trailed from there.
Rolling Meadows continued its surge and opened up a 26-14 lead on a basket by Foster Ogbonna (12 points, 6 rebounds).
The Rockets made a late run just before the close of the half and pulled to within 29-23 before Ogbonna's tip-in at the buzzer gave Meadows an 8-point bulge at the half.
Christie and Thomas combined to put the game away for Meadows. They each hit a 3 and Christie added a 3-point play and suddenly it was 40-23.
"It really came down to four possessions," Burlington Central coach Brett Porto said. "The last possession of the first half and the first three possessions of the second half. That's four possessions without us getting a shot and they scored 11 points. That was kind of the game."
Nick Carpenter led the Rockets with 11 points. Andrew Scharnowski had 10 points while Carson Seyller and Zac Schmidt each had 8 points.