Rolling Meadows downs Prospect with second-half surge

SHARE Rolling Meadows downs Prospect with second-half surge

After getting punched in the face and falling behind early, No. 4 Rolling Meadows opened the second half on a 16-3 run and cruised to a 69-50 victory Saturday in a Mid-Suburban East showdown at No. 15 Prospect.

The Mustangs, who nursed a 35-34 lead at the break, built a 23-point lead in the second half before both teams cleared their benches.

“It’s a credit to our team defense in the second half,” said Meadows’ Ashley Glasgow, who finished with 15 points. “We forced them to take some bad shots. On offense, Jackie (Kemph) was just too fast for them and Jenny (Vliet) stepped up with some big threes.

“But overall, it was our team defense in the second half that turned it around,” she added. “That and a halftime talk by Coach K (Ryan Kirkorsky).”

Prospect (14-3, 3-2) rode the energy of a big home crowd and some pinpoint shooting from beyond the arc by junior forward Taylor Will (19 points, nine rebounds) to grab a 13-8 lead with 4:17 remaining in the first quarter.

But Kemph went coast-to-coast and Glasgow buried her only three-pointer of the game to give Rolling Meadows (16-2, 4-0) the lead for good at 20-17 with 1:31 left in the opening quarter. But the Mustangs still weren’t out of the woods.

“We just told the kids at halftime that when we play the right way, we’re very difficult to beat,” Kirkorsky said. “It’s as simple as that.

“And a lot of it was Ashley Montanez,” he added. “She’s such a great player. We challenged her a little bit. She was on the bench with foul trouble in the first half. We told her she had to come out and be ready to play.”

The Mustangs went to Montanez on consecutive trips down the floor to open the second half, and the 6-1 senior responded. She scored all seven of her points in the third quarter as the Mustangs extended the lead to 51-37.

“I had to come out strong in the second half and give us that extra push,” Montanez said. “It’s no fun watching from the bench. They (Prospect) did a great job coming out, but we adjusted really well in the second half and got the job done. That’s what matters.”

Kemph led Rolling Meadows with 23 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. Vliet added 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Prospect’s junior forward Catherine Sherwood, who had to sit out two games including the title game at Dundee-Crown with concussion symptoms, added 15 points and Mallory Gonzalez had nine for the Knights.

“They’re good,” Kirkorsky said. “They shot the ball really well and they have some kids who are really hard to guard. We didn’t necessarily stick to our game plan throughout, but credit to Prospect. There’s a reason why they’re a ranked team. They’ve beaten some good teams.”

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