Rolling Meadows dominates Montini in Tosh opener
Cameron Christie and Rolling Meadows got off to a great start in the opening round of the 48th annual Jack Tosh Holiday Classic at York in Elmhurst on Monday.
Christie had 26 points, 13 rebounds and three assists in just over three quarters of play as the top-seeded Mustangs rolled past Montini 72-43.
"We wanted to make sure we take everyone seriously in this tournament," said Christie, who was 9-of-15 from the field and 7-of-9 from outside the arc.
"As the tournament goes on it is going to get tougher and tougher, so you don't want to take any team for granted. We don't want to have any off games."
Rolling Meadows (12-1), which is the top seed in the 32-team tournament, played like it from the opening tip. The Mustangs bolted to an 8-0 lead thanks to a pair of 3-pointers by Christie.
With their 6-foot-7 duo of Mark Nikolich-Wilson (16 points, 5 rebounds) and Foster Ogbonna (8 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists) a force inside, Meadows was tough under both ends of the basket.
Ian Miletic had 9 points and Jack Duffer added six points while Tsvet Sotirov played for the first time since injuring his ankle Dec. 9 against Hersey.
"I think it is good to get a win like this to start the tournament," said Nikolich-Wilson, who was 7-of-8 from the field and barely played in the second half because he is battling a cold.
"We didn't look ahead. That's tomorrow. It is fun to win games, but it is fun to play tough competition outside of our conference."
Despite being the top seed in the tournament, Meadows' path to the championship may be the toughest in the tournament.
The Mustangs will meet St. Patrick on Tuesday at 5 p.m. The Shamrocks beat Glenbard North 64-52 and are ranked among the top teams in the Chicago area.
A win against St. Pat's puts Rolling Meadows into the quarterfinals, most likely against Glenbrook South, a team that Meadow beat earlier thus season.
"It was a good first game for us," Mustangs coach Kevin Katovich said. "To me this is the best tournament in the state. From the way it is run. Just the 32 teams top to bottom. Everybody is here. It is fun and good to play teams like that.
Katovich said that this part of his schedule begins a time when the Mustangs are beefing up their nonconference schedule.
"We have a nice stretch with these games," Katovich said. "And then we come back and play Joliet West a week later."
Montini (3-9) was led by Tyler Pavlik who had 13 points and Maxwell Bell with 10 points.
"We weren't coming in here thinking they weren't really good," Montini coach Adam DeMong said. "Their program has built to this. Our program is still building. There are going to be some rough nights. If we are playing really good teams my expectation is that we want to play. And there were some moments that I loved what we were doing and moments like we are still figuring it out."