Glenbrook North nips Rolling Meadows in final seconds
Owen Giannoulias, Glenbrook North's junior guard, almost wore a pair of goat horns at the Class 4A New Trier sectional semifinal Wednesday.
Giannoulias fouled Rolling Meadows star Cam Christie in the frontcourt with: 24 left with the Spartans leading 57-56.
Christie, who led an incredible comeback for the Mustangs, sank both free throws for a 58-57 lead.
Giannoulias missed a three-point shot with: 13 left in the game. The ball was saved from going out of bounds and the ball ended up back in Giannoulias's hands.
Patrick Shaller (9 points) used a screen to break away from his defender. Alertly Giannoulias (8 points) spied Shaller under the basket who made the layup with: 05 left for a 59-58 win.
"I had to keep a mental focus after those two plays," said Giannoulias. "Every play is a new play. I just had to shake it off. Pat finished the big play just like we do in practice. We weathered their storm."
"Really it's a play we practice a lot," said Shaller. "I got away from the defender and broke to the basket. It was a great play."
"I can't say enough about how proud I am of our guys," said Glenbrook North coach Quin Hayes. "To give up the lead at the end and then come back, that's special. We were up to the challenge."
It was almost not enough.
Christie took the inbounds pass from Mark Nikolich-Wilson, drove to the top of the key and let loose with a three-point shot. The ball kissed the front of the rim and fell to the floor.
The Mustangs (27-7) dug a hole for themselves in the first half hitting 1-of-10 shots in the first quarter and fell behind 12-4.
Like death and taxes, Glenbrook North star guard Ryan Cohen -- who would finish with 26 points -- scored 13 of his 18 first-half points in the quarter in building a 34-19 halftime lead. Meadows shot 7 of 22 from the field and the 28-4 Spartans 13-23.
"That was the difference in playing against a really good team like Glenbrook North," said Rolling Meadows coach Kevin Katovich. "You can't dig yourself into a hole like that. But, I will remember this senior group for the legacy that they left behind. What they have done for the school and the program can't be thanked enough."
Christie and Ian Miletic helped pull Rolling Meadows back into the game in the third quarter. Christie scored 12 of his team-high 29 points and Miletic 7 of his 11 to close the gap to 46-42.
The Mustangs cranked it up in the second half hitting 17 of 19 shots but Glenbrook North did well with 13 of 16.
"We knew it would be a game of runs," said Cohen. "They made their run but we were able to hold on."
Christie finished second in points scored in school history behind his brother Max who is with the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA.
Glenbrook North, the No. 2 seed, will face No. 1 seed New Trier for the sectional title at 7 p.m. Friday.