Elk Grove gives Rolling Meadows wake-up call, Mustangs respond
Sometimes you just need a good kick in the shins.
That's what Elk Grove gave Rolling Meadows Wednesday. And it wasn't just one hard kick.
The Grenadiers battled the MSL East leading Mustangs for nearly a quarter. But Rolling Meadows finally woke up and showed why they have won 33 consecutive East conference games as the Mustangs rolled past Elk Grove 69-34 in Rolling Meadows.
"We came out very lackadaisical," Rolling Meadows coach Kevin Katovich said. "They came out to play and we didn't. But obviously from there we responded. It's nice but a little disappointing that we did not come out ready to go right away."
Meadows (11-1, 4-0) came out lethargic thanks to the tenacious play of Elk Grove.
The Grens (3-8, 1-3) played scrappy and didn't show any fear. They forced four early Rolling Meadows turnovers and were running their screens to perfection and took a 10-8 lead in a driving layup by Bronson Bartuch.
"We just have to come out better," said Rolling Mewdows' Mark Nikolich-Wilson, who would finish with 14 points, all in the first half.
"It is as simple as that. We have to finish up layups. That's on us."
But a good kick in the shins will usually go away if you rub it hard enough. And Rolling Meadows did that.
The Mustangs turned up the defensive pressure, forcing 11 missed shots by Elk Grove and making the Grens turn the ball over seven times.
That defense led to an offensive onslaught by the Meadows. They converted 9 of their next 12 shots on their way to scoring 29 unanswered points to lead 37-10 with 55 seconds left in the first half.
"I think after we got through that first quarter, we picked things up," said Cameron Christie, who finished with 20 points in just over 2-1/2 quarters of play.
"We try to emphasize our defense a lot. Making sure we help. As long as we rebound and force them to one shot we are in good shape."
Cleaning up the boards for the Mustangs was Foster Ogbonna, who had 10 of them, to go with his 10 points. He also had a steal and crashing dunk that ignited the Mustang bench.
"I am just hustling and doing everything I can to help the team," said Ogbonna, "And do more than just scoring. I am just trying to expand my game more."
Jack Duffer had eight points while Ian Miletic added seven points.
Bartusch led Elk Grove with 12 points while Dylan McCorry had 10 points,
"We played hard I thought and fight for everything we can," Elk Grove coach Nick Oraham said. "There was just so little we could do with a team with that kind of size and that kind of skill. We are always going to play hard. We just had some bad possessions there in the second quarter."