Rolling Meadows rolls in Tosh opener
Rolling Meadows is looking for a missing piece.
The Mustangs took a first step into finding it Monday when they easily handled St. Laurence 68-54 in the opening round of the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic at York in Elmhurst.
Rolling Meadows (10-1), which now has won 7 in a row, will meet Lemont on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. Lemont (8-2) beat Timothy Christian 75-50 to advance.
Like all other basketball teams during the holiday season last year, Rolling Meadows felt it missed on the excitement of playing in these highly visible tournaments. But for the Mustangs it was a bit more.
They had advanced to semifinals of the prestigious 32-team Tosh tournament in 2019. And in 2020, the Mustangs, who finished the truncated spring season with a 15-0 mark, figured they could have won the tournament.
"This was one of the things that we put on the board before the game, was to appreciate it," Rolling Meadows coach Kevin Katovich said. "We didn't get to play last year. For a lot of the guys, this is their first time here. And I think this is best tournament in the state. We are going to relish every second we are here."
Meadows had a sluggish start and then pulled away Monday. The Mustangs were tied with St. Laurence (4-9) at 5-5 at the mask break when they began to explode.
Ian Miletic's 3-point play triggered an 11-0 run by Meadows. It featured a steal and dunk by Cam Christie, a 3-point play by Christie and a 3-pointer by Orlando Thomas that sent the Mustangs on their way.
The Mustangs broke the game open midway through the third quarter when a 10-0 run turned into a 55-33 advantage.
"We came out a little slow," Katovich said. "And a bit sloppy at times. But at the end of the day we'll take the win and try to get better."
Meadows was able to pull away thanks to 12 3-pointers and a balanced effort.
"We came out a little sloppy at first," said Thomas, who had 4 3-pointers and finished with 22 points and 3 steals.
"Once we got our game going we started to play well. It was good team win. We are trying to win this whole thing, We have a good team right now and have the capability to come out and play."
Christie finished with 21 points thanks to 4 3-pointers. He also had 2 assists and 2 steals.
"We think there are a lot of good teams in this tournament, but we think we can go far," Christie said. "Two years ago in this tournament we fell short a little bit, so we want to make sure that we leave everything on the. court this year."
Miletic finished with 10 points for the Mustangs. Tsvet Sotirov had 9 points thanks to a trio of 3-pointers while Mark Nikolich-Wilson finished with 4 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocked shots.