Three games in four nights is no small task, no matter who the opponent is.
Said task is made exponentially tougher when the final game of the gruelling stretch happens to be against the 17th ranked team in the area.
Though it would have been completely understandable for Rolling Meadows to have felt fatigue after their first two matchups of the season, they brought the fight to Lake Zurich, opening the game on a 12-0 run before edging past the Bears 47-43 for their third win of the season.
“I’m just proud of our kids. We’ve had a number of people getting minutes for us who are playing their first bit of varsity basketball,” said Rolling Meadows head coach Ryan Kirkorsky. “We’re going to make mistakes, we’re going to learn from those mistakes and we were fortunate to get out of here with this one.”
Right out of the gate, Rolling Meadows brought full full court pressure, forcing Lake Zurich into 10 first quarter turnovers and brought about a 12-0 lead.
The Mustangs were led early by senior guard Lily Greifenstein (13 points, 4 steals) who despite missing most of the summer action due to injury, played as though she hadn’t missed a single minute.
“Last year she was one of the best scorers in the area,” said Kirkorsky. “There are certain kids that just finish plays and she is one of those kids. There are not many who consistently finish around the rim and hit threes and she does both of those things.”
But despite the slow start, Lake Zurich slowly started crawling their way back into the contest. Foul trouble for Rolling Meadows forced them to back off of their full court pressure, which helped the Bears settle into the game.
Led by junior Ella Gilbertson’s 21 point, six rebound performance, and an increased defensive presence, Lake Zurich would eventually take a two point lead late in the fourth quarter.
“If you would have asked me how it went I thought it would have been more like this than how it started,” said Kirkorsky. “Lake Zurich played incredible defense, It’s hard to go on runs against them. Obviously foul trouble hurt us but it was more of their defense and number five (Gilbertson) hit some big shots.”
Trailing by two points with just two minutes and change remaining, Rolling Meadows kept their nerve, carving out over a minute long possession which ended in a three pointer for senior Alexa Davis from Greifenstein to regain the lead at 41-40.
Clinging onto a one point lead, the Mustangs aggressive defense saved the day once again as Davis forced another Lake Zurich turnover in the final minute of action.
Davis (17 points, 4 assists) would also go on to ice the game from the free throw line to seal the win, scoring the Rolling Meadows final nine points in the process.
Kirkorsky said: “I’ve seen Alexa in that situation so many times and it did not surprise me in the least. She’s very steady emotionally for us and there something to be said about kids who have been in those situations before.”
Meadows will look to continue their hot start to the season on Saturday, when they face off against Johnsburg, while Lake Zurich will have a chance to get right back at it on Friday against Carey Grove.