State-ranked Rolling Meadows is probably fortunate it is not playing a Mid-Suburban League game today like most of its fellow conference rivals.
This is one day the Mustangs could probably use a day off — and deservingly so.
They played one of their highest-tempo games in school history on Monday at the 23rd annual McDonald’s Shootout in Villa Park.
In a showdown featuring girls basketball teams who average more than 70 points apiece and a combined 4 losses from 41 games, the pace was fast and furious between the defending MSL champs and Fenwick High School.
When it was over, the Mustangs had overcome a 14-point first-half deficit and outlasted the Friars 87-83 at Willowbrook High School.
If you looked away, chances were you were going to miss a basket.
And no one scored more of them than Meadows junior guard Jackie Kemph, who finished with a career-high 38 points.
“She was amazing,” said Fenwick Hall of Fame coach Dave Power. “We knew we about her and we tried to slow her down. She is the energizer bunny. I told our girls let’s hold her to 30 but that didn’t happen.”
“Definitely the fastest game I’ve been in,” said Kemph, who sliced her way through the Friars’ defense for 12 field goals along with 13-of-19 free throws, a 3-pointer, 7 assists and 3 steals. “We knew they would be fast. And we prepared for it. We wanted to attack them with layups.”
The Friars (17-3) attacked plenty from the outside, converting 13-of-44 3-point attempts, led by sophomore Jenny Mackowiak who had 5.
It was the third time the Friars have hit 13 3-pointers in a game this season.
Meanwhile, the Mustangs only took 14 3-pointers with junior Alexis Glasgow (20 points) getting the other two.
Senior Morgan Keller added 15 points and 11 rebounds for Meadows (20-1) while junior Jenny Vliet had 8 points and 11 rebounds.
Trailing 42-29 with 2:41 left in the half, the Mustangs scored 9 of the next 11 points to trail by 7 at the break.
“In practice, we run cycles and we can score 10 points in like 30 seconds,” Keller said. “So when we were down 7 at half, it was no big deal, especially when it’s a game where we’re running faster than normal. Playing man-to-man defense was a little different for me because I was guarding someone smaller.”
Meadows used a 7-0 run to start the second half and got its first lead at 45-44 when Ashley Montanez (6 points, 6 rebounds) tossed a nice pass to Vliet, who completed a 3-point play.
The game was tied at 60 and 77 before Meadows claimed the lead for good on a driving bank shot by Kemph.
Moments later Glasgow hit a 3-pointer for an 82-77 lead and Kemph added 2 more free throws for an 84-77 lead with under a minute left.
“Jackie amazes me every day in practice,” said Mustangs coach Ryan Kirkorsky. “Her ability to finish is like no boy or girl I’ve seen. I’ll take her on my side anytime.”
The fast pace is exactly how Power want his team playing.
It is the highest up-tempo team he’s had in 37 seasons of winning more than 850 games.
He will rotate three or four fresh girls into the game every three or four minutes.
“They definitely wear you down, it’s a unique style,” Kirkorsky said. “It was fun to be part of this. When we told the kids about their style, they were excited.”
“This is the style we have to play,” said Power, who got 10 players in to the fast-paced action in which his team outshot Meadows 83-66. “We love it. We’ll never go back.”
Fenwick junior Jade Owen (team-high 22 points), who scored the game’s first 6 points in less than 45 seconds, picked up her fourth foul with 7:27 left in the game.
“What an exciting game,” said Power, whose team averages almost 77 and had a 99-97 win over Marist. “I’m very proud of my girls. That fourth foul on Jade really hurt us. There was one play on their No. 50 (Keller) where she just had to get out of the way and let her score. But everything else was fine about this game.”
Mackowiak (18 points) did a fine job keeping Fenwick in the game in the fourth quarter when she hit all five of her 3-pointers.
“Jenny was unbelievable late in the game,” Power said. “We led most of the way but we just didn’t. Credit to Rolling Meadows.
“I figured we would get hurt either by their height or their point guard (Kemph). For whatever reason, we didn’t get hurt by their height but she (Kemph) had big numbers. “Defensively, we just had a to do a little better job.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.