Gerdes scores 24, leads Grayslake North over Mundelein
Grayslake North has an extremely tough front line, difficult for any opponent to contend with.
Mundelein found that out Wednesday night at the Mustangs' Thanksgiving girls basketball tournament.
The Knights have two 6-footers, Peyton Gerdes, a senior, and Makayla Campbell, a junior.
The pair combined for seven rebounds alone in the first quarter, with Campbell getting five of those, and it led Grayslake North to an early lead.
The Knights went on from there, taking a 24-10 halftime advantage en route to a 45-40 victory.
Mundelein made a strong run in the third, paced by 10 points in the quarter from junior Rylan Foster, but couldn't catch up.
Gerdes, who is headed toward breaking the Grayslake North all-time scoring record, was especially effective in the contest, especially from the 3- point line.
Gerdes was 3-of-7 from 3-point land, and finished with a game-high 24 points and 12 rebounds.
"It's definitely a great luxury to have a player like Peyton," said Grayslake North coach Brian Frericks. "We can go to her if we need a basket, and for a first-year coach that's something special to rely on."
Mundelein, meanwhile, was effective in its sets but couldn't consistently put the ball in the basket, especially in the first 16 minutes.
The Mustangs were just 1-of-14 from long range in the game, but had a spirited fourth quarter rally to make it close.
"We definitely came back," said Foster, who scored 20 points for Mundelein, all coming in the second half. "Even though we lost, we fought, and that's all I can ask for."
"Just come out and compete and fight," added Foster of the talk at halftime. "We know we're a strong team, and we're going to continue to get better. We definitely showed that tonight."
Mundelein (1-2) stayed right with Grayslake North in the first quarter, but a 3 from Gerdes put the Knights up to stay at 7-4.
The visitors kept up the pressure in the second quarter. Gerdes led the way with 2 early 3-pointers, then fed teammate Reagan Kuzynowski for an easy layup in the lane to make it 20-9.
The Mustangs got the momentum back just after halftime. They forced a turnover and then Foster scored on a quick hook shot.
A putback by Mustangs guard Gracie Werner got her team within 29-20.
Gerdes opened the final stanza with a layup, then assisted Kuzynowski on another score to make it 40-27.
But the Mustangs still had some fight left in them, and behind 8 late free throws from Foster, closed to within 45-40.
That turned out to be the final score, as Mundelein kept the pressure on but couldn't get any key turnovers in the final moments.
Grayslake North (3-0) outrebounded Mundelein 35-22, with Campbell corralling 10 of those boards.
Werner scored 8 points for Mundelein, while Kuzynowski pitched in with 12 for GN (including 2 three-pointers) and Campbell scored 6.
"It was a good all-around team win," said Frericks. "We came out strong in the first half, and we were patient offensively, trying to do our thing.
"It got a little scary at the end, but we managed to hold them off."