Whether it was driving to the basket, knocking down three-pointers or dishing to her teammates, Rolling Meadows’ Jackie Kemph did it all against Fremd in the first half of the Libertyville Sectional championship Thursday.
The 5-6 junior guard scored 14 of her game-high 18 points in the first half to help the No. 5 Mustangs start fast and roll to a 59-50 victory over the No. 17 Vikings.
“I wanted to make sure we got the lead early,” Kemph said. “We have awesome shooters so it was hard for them to collapse on me .”
Rolling Meadows (28-3) started the game on fire, connecting on seven of its first eight shots for a 19-7 lead with 1:36 left in the first quarter.
Fremd (26-8) was able to close the quarter with a pair of free throws and three-pointer by Haley Gorecki (16 points).
Brianna Lewis and Gorecki connected on back-to-back buckets to start the second quarter, cutting the deficit to 19-16. But the Mustangs dominated the rest of the period, finishing with a 14-4 spurt to take a 33-20 lead into the break.
“We said we were going to come out and have a fast start, but they came out, made some nice moves and hit their shots,” Fremd guard Ashley McConnell said. “We’ve been down like that before and normally we’re good at coming back, but we just didn’t answer.”
Rolling Meadows was 13-for-21 from the floor in the first half, but the Mustangs went cold in the third, going 2-for-15. The Vikings weren’t much better, shooting 4-for-16, but were able to pull within 39-30 heading to the fourth.
McConnell was fantastic for Fremd in the final quarter, scoring 12 of her 14 points in the period. A three by McConnell with 2:08 left trimmed the deficit to 49-42. A free throw from Marilyn Lortz and two more from McConnell got the lead down to 49-45 with 1:29 to play.
That’s as close as it would get. A pair of free throws by Jenny Vliet (13 points), a field goal by Alexis Glasgow and two more free throws by Vliet pushed the lead back to double digits.
The strong start and finish were the perfect recipe for victory.
“Our goal is always to get a lead right away,” Vliet said. “We got it to the bigs early and Jackie’s penetrating is always awesome .”
Ashley Montanez added 10 points for the Mustangs.
Rolling Meadows advances to the Niles West Supersectional on Monday where they’ll face Evanston.
“We knew we had a lot of talent and the goal was to get to State,” Kemph said. “We need one more win.”