Lake Zurich fends off Mundelein's comeback
Trailing visiting Lake Zurich 28-16 early in the third quarter things were not looking good for Mundelein in this North Suburban Conference girls basketball opening game for both teams Tuesday night.
But the Mustangs showed a lot of resilience as their never-say-die attitude helped them cut the Bears' lead to 36-34 on two free throws by Rylan Foster with 7:40 to play.
That was as close as Mundelein (5-2, 0-1) would get the rest of the way though as Lake Zurich (1-4, 1-0) closed out the contest with an impressive 18-4 run to capture a 54-38 NSC victory over the Mustangs behind a balanced offensive attack.
The Bears' fourth-quarter surge was led by sophomore Leah Gilbertson (team-high 15 points). She hit an inside basket and a 3-pointer to cap a 9-point run for a 45-34 lead with three minutes to play.
Anna Gilbertson was also a big factor for Lake Zurich with 14 points while teammates Molly Friesen and Alex Nowak-Tice scored 8 points each.
"We're still trying to find our way. As you can see we're a young team and we're still trying to figure things out," said Lake Zurich coach Chris Bennett, whose team led 16-9 after one quarter and 26-16 at halftime. "We've got a couple of older kids who have been on varsity for three or four years and then we have five freshmen and sophomores who are all playing heavy minutes too."
Mundelein's offense was led by Foster with 11 of her game-high 18 points in the second half and sophomore teammate Casey Vyverman with 13 points.
"We were a little bit more aggressive, and I thought we shifted that momentum to pull to within two," said Mundelein coach Sara Teipel. "Credit to them I thought they played super-tough, but we had an opportunity there where I thought we could close that gap. I was proud of the fight we showed to battle back, but we got a little flat and they took it to us."
The long road back to recovery from a torn ACL last February paid off for Lake Zurich junior Avery Cooper (5 points). She played in her first game of the season coming off the bench.
"It's great to be back, I missed it, and I was prepared for today," said Cooper. "We had a lot of good assists in the fourth quarter versus the first half, and I feel like we were looking for the best option instead of taking just an open shot."
Layne Nordstrom had 4 points for the Bears while Erin Frank added 4 points for the Mustangs.