Well after his Grant girls basketball team's season opener at Mundelein on Monday night, as his players were exiting the gym, coach Matt Lukemeyer still couldn't believe what just happened.
"My hand's still shaking," a smiling Lukemeyer said, raising his arm.
Fortunately for the Bulldogs, Tania Trbojevich's hand was still as she stood at the foul line with 7.3 seconds on the clock and her team clinging to a one-point lead.
The senior guard sank both free throws, despite Mundelein coach Brian Evans calling timeout before each one, and Grant pulled out a come-from-behind, 47-46 win.
"I was nervous, but I was just focused on making them and focused on winning the game," Trbojevich said. "It was all about confidence."
Grant trailed 30-19 at halftime but got 3-pointers from Trbojevich, AnaRose Hebein and Taylor Rossi in outscoring Mundelein 13-5 in the third quarter. The Bulldogs finally took the lead, at 45-44, on Kaylie Kanzler's baseline move and bucket with 1:13 left in the fourth.
"(The second half) was definitely a lot better," said Trbojevich, who finished with 6 points. "We picked up our intensity. We were a lot tougher and aggressive."
Rossi and Kanzler led Grant with 9 and 8 points, respectively.
"At halftime, we challenged them and said we weren't playing tough enough. We were getting pushed around a little bit," said Lukemeyer, whose Bulldogs won only eight games last season. "(Mundelein) was outrebounding us, and we said we got to get tougher. There are a couple of drills that we listed off that we do in practice, where you really got to be tough. Hopefully that's what they responded to. They were a lot tougher in the second half."
Mundelein sophomore forward Natalie Busscher scored a game-high 13 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. Sophomore guard Maggie Mahar added 9 points for the Mustangs.
Grayslake North 60, Highland Park 55: At Mundelein, the Knights won their season opener, hitting 7 of 8 free throws, including 3 of 4 by Jordyn Bowen, in the final 47 seconds.
It was the head-coaching debut for Nate Flannery of Grayslake North.
Bowen led the Knights with 16 points. Sophomore Emily Dugan (three 3-pointers) and Shyanne Ludwick added 11 points each, and 6-foot junior Brittney Thibeaux scored 10 in her varsity debut.
"I thought it looked like a first game of the season -- the first half, for sure," said Flannery, whose team trailed 28-22 at halftime.
Highland Park guard Lena Munzer led all scorers with 31 points.
"The Munzer girl is unbelievable," Flannery said. "She had 31 and it felt like we contained her."Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.