Sweet-shooting Cam Christie leads Rolling Meadows past St. Patrick, into York quarterfinals

There’s a special joy in watching a beautiful jump shot. Rolling Meadows senior Cam Christie has owned one of those pretty jumpers since he was a freshman, and, over the last few years, he has grown to 6-6.

SHARE Sweet-shooting Cam Christie leads Rolling Meadows past St. Patrick, into York quarterfinals
Rolling Meadows’ Cam Christie (24) shoots the ball against St. Patrick’s Harper Krolak (24).

Rolling Meadows’ Cam Christie (24) shoots the ball against St. Patrick’s Harper Krolak (24).

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

There’s a special joy in watching a beautiful jump shot. Rolling Meadows senior Cam Christie has owned one of those pretty jumpers since he was a freshman, and, over the last few years, he has grown to 6-6.

With that size and his athletic ability, his release point is sky-high. It’s difficult to remember a local player who was so tall, had such elevation on his jumper and was also the best shooter in the state.

“I’ve had to [get the elevation] over time,” Christie said. “When I was younger, I wasn’t the tallest, and I was playing with [Max Christie and Bryce Hopkins], and I had to find some way to get a shot off.”

Max Christie, Cam’s older brother, is a Laker. Hopkins, who played at Fenwick, is at Providence.

Christie didn’t have his best shooting game Tuesday, but he still scored 18 points to lead No. 13 Rolling Meadows to a 58-39 victory against No. 22 St. Patrick in the second round of the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic at York.

“Cam elevates higher than Max did, and even when he misses the shot, it looks like it’s gonna go in,” Rolling Meadows coach Kevin Katovich said. “It’s always a surprise when it doesn’t.”

The Shamrocks (9-3) held Rolling Meadows to three points in the second quarter and only trailed by four at halftime. But the Mustangs (13-1) opened the third quarter with a 10-0 run and never looked back.

“We just kind of slowed down a little bit and executed what we’re trying to execute,” Katovich said. “And then when we were scoring, we were able to set up our defense, and it went from there.”

Junior Antoine Thomas led St. Patrick with 15 points, and senior Andrew Ayeni added 10 points and five rebounds.

This is the best team in Rolling Meadows history. Christie is surrounded with talented teammates. The Mustangs don’t have much depth, but they have great size and multiple shooters.

Foster Ogbonna, a 6-4 senior, had 14 points and 12 rebounds, and 6-7 senior Mark Nikolich-Wilson added 12 points and 11 rebounds. Tsvet Sotirov, a 6-7 senior recently back from an injury, contributed nine points and five rebounds.

“The [1990 team that went to state] might argue that, but it is the best team we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Katovich said. “Last year we were 28-6, and I think the guys got used to the high expectations. They love it. The bigger the game, the better they are.”

The Mustangs will face Glenbrook South, a team they beat by 13 in November, in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. Rolling Meadows is the favorite to win the tournament, and the overall expectations are much higher: a trip to state and even a state title.

“We definitely feel we have a good chance to go to state,” Christie said. “We just have to compete in every game, and as long as we keep playing hard, we will be able to get there.”

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