Thomas' all-around effort powers Rolling Meadows by Libertyville

  • Libertyville's John Graham, left, gets a hand on the ball as Rolling Meadows' Cameron Christie drives the lane during Saturday's game at Libertyville.

      Libertyville's John Graham, left, gets a hand on the ball as Rolling Meadows' Cameron Christie drives the lane during Saturday's game at Libertyville. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Libertyville's Andrew Sorensen goes to the basket against Rolling Meadows' Jake Lane during Saturday's game at Libertyville.

      Libertyville's Andrew Sorensen goes to the basket against Rolling Meadows' Jake Lane during Saturday's game at Libertyville. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Libertyville's Chase Bonder goes to the floor for the ball in front of Rolling Meadows' Orlando Thomas during Saturday's game at Libertyville.

      Libertyville's Chase Bonder goes to the floor for the ball in front of Rolling Meadows' Orlando Thomas during Saturday's game at Libertyville. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Libertyville's Chase Bonder, right, strips the ball from Rolling Meadows' Orlando Thomas as the Wildcat's Jack Huber, left, trails on the play during Saturday's game at Libertyville.

      Libertyville's Chase Bonder, right, strips the ball from Rolling Meadows' Orlando Thomas as the Wildcat's Jack Huber, left, trails on the play during Saturday's game at Libertyville. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Rolling Meadows' Mark Nikolich-Wilson, left, defends a shot by Libertyville's John Graham during Saturday's game at Libertyville.

      Rolling Meadows' Mark Nikolich-Wilson, left, defends a shot by Libertyville's John Graham during Saturday's game at Libertyville. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Libertyville's Cole Bonder drives against Rolling Meadows' Mark Nikolich-Wilson during Saturday's game at Libertyville.

      Libertyville's Cole Bonder drives against Rolling Meadows' Mark Nikolich-Wilson during Saturday's game at Libertyville. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Rolling Meadows boys basketball coach Kevin Katovich leads the Mustangs during Saturday's game at Libertyville.

      Rolling Meadows boys basketball coach Kevin Katovich leads the Mustangs during Saturday's game at Libertyville. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Libertyville head boys basketball coach Brian Zyrkowski talks to assistant coaches on the bench during Saturday's game against Rolling Meadows.

      Libertyville head boys basketball coach Brian Zyrkowski talks to assistant coaches on the bench during Saturday's game against Rolling Meadows. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
By Bobby Narang
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 12/18/2021 8:05 PM

Rolling Meadows senior guard Orlando Thomas likes to sum up his game with two clips as his lone pinned tweet on his Twitter site.

In a 9-second clip, Thomas takes a few dribbles, does a hesitation move that causes his defender to slightly jump in the air, allowing Thomas to penetrate the lane and score on a nifty lay-in over another defender. His second highlight is a step-back 3-point that swishes through the net.

 

Above the short clip, Thomas wrote "Pretty much sums up my game in 2 clips."

On Saturday, Libertyville experienced the Thomas effect.

Thomas might want to add a few more highlights to his Twitter site, as he showed a diverse and athletic game, scoring 10 points and dishing out 6 assists in a 59-45 victory over the Wildcats in Libertyville.

Early in the fourth quarter, with the game hanging in the balance, Thomas copied his pinned tweet, but in reverse order. He drilled a deep 3-pointer and scored on a highlight-reel layup on consecutive possessions to increase Rolling Meadows' lead to 46-36.

"That's how I play and I have confidence in my shot," Thomas said. "It's about bringing my training into the game, but I'm really happy with the way I passed the ball today. It's more than me scoring the ball, but being able to find my teammates when they're open and limiting my turnovers and having a low assist-to-turnover ratio."

Junior guard Cameron Christie, who picked up an offer from DePaul on Saturday morning, scored a game-high 23 points, including a pair of dunks, to lead the Mustangs (9-1). Tsvet Sotirov scored 11 points and Ian Miletic had 9 for the Mustangs to end Libertyville's four-game winning streak. Chase Bonder paced the Wildcats (7-3) with 18 points and Will Buchert tossed in 10.

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"It was a great win," Thomas said. "I think our team played really well. We executed and passed the ball around well and picked apart their zone. Our whole team contributed. We had a full team effort."

Rolling Meadows coach Kevin Katovich praised his team for bouncing back in the second half after Libertyville led for the final few minutes of the second quarter. The Mustangs scored the first 7 points of the third quarter, highlighted by a Christie dunk off a lob pass from Thomas, and never trailed again.

"We knew this was going to be a dogfight because Libertyville is big and physical and is really a well-coached team," Katovich said. "I was really proud of our guys on how they responded in the second half."

Thomas, who has yet to pick up an offer, put the game out of reach with his back-to-back scoring plays in the fourth.

"Orlando is probably one of the most underrecruited and underrated players in the state," Katovich said. "He does all the little things for us, and you saw it when we needed a big bucket, he did that, too."

The Mustangs, who defeated Elk Grove 86-46 on Friday night, immediately realized the Wildcats would be a tough challenge. The Wildcats played the Mustangs even for the first three quarters before Rolling Meadows' inside presence, athleticism and shooting wore them down.

"(Rolling Meadows) is a great team and we give them all the credit," Bonder said. "We hung with them in the first half and went into the second half fired up. We just didn't have a good second half. We didn't get it done in the second half. I have a lot of respect for Orlando. He's a great shooter and driver."

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