Down 12 early, Rolling Meadows storms back vs. Glenbrook South
It took awhile for Rolling Meadows to find its stride Wednesday at the York Jack Tosh Holiday Classic.
Once they did, there was no stopping them.
Going up against a tough Glenbrook South team in the quarterfinals, the Mustangs rallied from 12 down after one quarter to score a 74-64 win.
"I'm just incredibly proud of our kids tonight," said Meadows coach Kevin Katovich. "They got down early but kept chipping away, and they picked up the intensity on defense."
The Mustangs hit 14 3-pointers, just 2 short of the all-time tournament record, but it was their defense in the final three quarters that turned the tide.
"Our shots weren't falling (early)," said Meadows senior Tsvet Sotirov, "so we just signed up on defense - that was the key to it."
Cameron Christie led the way for the Mustangs with 28 points, but it was Sotirov who gave Meadows a big lift on the offensive end.
Sotirov hit four 3s early in the third quarter as Meadows took the lead for good.
"Everyone on our team is a D1 player and everyone can score the ball at a high level," said Sotirov. "It was me who was hot tonight, last game it was Foster (Ogbonna) and the game before that it was Mark (Nikolich-Wilson)."
Meadows still trailed by 11 midway through the second quarter, and up to that point Christie had been held scoreless.
He made up for that in a hurry, scoring 12 consecutive points for his team, and Meadows trailed only 33-30 at halftime.
"Coach pumped us up in the locker room (at halftime)," said Sotirov. "He told me to keep shooting, and I'm always going to keep shooting."
"I'm just so happy for him because he works so hard," said Katovich of Sotirov. "He's just a big-time player."
Gaven Marr came alive in the second half for the Titans, scoring all 16 of his team-high points in the final 16 minutes.
But Meadows grabbed the lead and kept extending their advantage, and when Christie had a rebound and putback in the 4th, the Mustangs led by 15.
Two free throws late from Glenbrook South junior Nick Taylor cut the led to 7, but that's as close as the Titans would get.
Free throws down the stretch from Nikolich-Wilson (11 points) and Christie sealed the win.
Sophomore Ian Militec added 9 points for the Mustangs on 3 3-pointers, while Sotirov finished with 22, including six 3s.
"Cam is the best player in the state," added Sotirov, giving big-time props to his teammates, "and in a couple years Ian is going to be the best player in the state."