Rolling Meadows finds its stride, routs Palatine
Rolling Meadows struggled out of the gate Tuesday as the Mustangs hosted Palatine in a midseason battle between Mid-Suburban League boys basketball division leaders.
But when the dust settled, Rolling Meadows was in a full gallop and raced past the Pirates 71-47.
"We came out really, really flat," Rolling Meadows coach Kevin Katovich said." We had turnovers in the first quarter and gave them a ton of offensive rebounds. I have to give credit to Palatine for that. We kind of righted the ship in the second quarter."
The Mustangs (14-2) stumbled out to a 19-14 lead early in the second quarter thanks to Cameron Christie. The junior banged down 4 3-point baskets during that span and would go on to finish with 25 points.
"We thought we came out slow," said Christie, who was 5-of-6 from outside the arc. "We did not have as much energy. It was a Tuesday game and our first day back at school. But I thought as the game went on we picked it up."
The Mustangs scored the next 11 points on their way to a 16-3 run to build a 35-17 advantage late in the second quarter.
Rolling Meadows led 39-22 at the break and appeared to be cruise mode.
Palatine (11-5) used that time to get back in the game. The Pirates closed to 48-35 with 3:15 left in the third quarter.
Meadows then put the game away, scoring 11 unanswered again behind the play of Mark Nikolich-Wilson (12 points, 5 rebounds), Ian Milentic (11 points), Orlando Thomas (9 points, 4 assists) and Foster Ogbonna (8 points, 13 rebounds).
"I am just competing to help my team every single time," Ogbonna said. "I just love rebounding. It impresses the coach and it makes me happy. I am more comfortable this season and getting more playing time."
Katovich, whose team finished third last week at the 32-team Jack Tosh Tournament at York, said his team needs to keep improving.
"We did a better job of adjusting," Katovich said. "But there are still a lot of things we need to work on. It was a little concerning there at times."
Both teams came into the game leading their respective divisions. Palatine is 3-0 in the West while Meadows is 2-0 as both teams return to division play on Friday.
"I thought for the most part our physical effort was good, but we had some mental lapses," Palatine coach Eric Millstone said. "And against a good team there isn't a lot of room for error and they made us pay for it."
Palatine (11-5) was led by Grant Dersnah, who had 12 points. Tyler Swierczak had 10 points while DJ Dick and Quinn Golletz each had 5 points.
"You have to play a real good game to beat them," Millstone said of Meadows. "That takes an emotional toll and a physical toll on you. As the game wore on, I thought that both of those started to drift a little on us."