Just call it transition night for the Rolling Meadows girls basketball team.
In more ways than one.
The Mustangs played their first game under Ryan Kirkorsky, who spent the past four years as the Elk Grove coach.
And what was the key for the Mustangs impressive 77-46 triumph over visiting Stevenson on Tuesday night?
It starts with our transition game, said Mustangs junior sharpshooter Alexis Glasgow, who lit up the gym with her career-high 31 points. We conditioned all week and thats what we concentrate on. We want to wear down opponents defensively.
A 17-footer by 5-foot-8 sophomore Sophia Way brought Stevenson to within 11-10 with 2:47 left in the first quarter but Meadows went on an 18-3 team to take control.
Mustangs junior Jenny Vliet (15 points, 5 rebounds, 4 3-pointers) hit back-to-back 3-pointers for a 17-10 lead and Glasgow connected for 8 straight points in the second quarter as the hosts pulled away.
I thought Jenny was tremendous, too, Kirkorsky said. She does everything fundamentally correct.
Glasgow had 17 points in the second quarter as the Mustangs raced to a 43-22 lead at the break.
Junior Ashley Montanez, making her first varsity start fit right in with Glasgow, Vliet and Jackie Kemph (10 points), the Mustangs three Division prospects.
Montanez collected 12 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals.
Ashley has been our best player the first two weeks of practice, Kirkorsky said. She has been phenomenal.
Montanez had 2 layups in the second quarter when Meadows outscored Stevenson 26-5.
Its very exciting to be playing with three of the best players in the league, said Montanez, who is coming off a solid volleyball season. Defense is going to be the key.
The Patriots were led by Haley Umans (7 points), Kari Moffat (6) and Alex Elzinga (6).
No excuses, said hall of fame coach Tom Dineen. They were the better team. Theyre excellent shooters, ballhandler and decision makers. They were the team I was hoping we would be. But we wont see too many better teams this season.
Kemph finished with 10 points, 3 assists and 3 steals while her sister Allie had 4 rebounds. Junior Elizabeth Vasilogambros came off the bench to chip in 7 fourth-quarter points , including 3-pointer.
If anything, we were focusing on defense, said Kirkorsky, a graduate of Buffalo Grove High School where he was a student in one of Dineens health classes. You dont get much transition unless youre playing defense and rebounding.
I have so much respect for coach Dineen. You know his kids will always be ready to play and our kids were very geared up to play, too.
Using their first-half momentum, the Mustangs didnt miss a beat when they stepped on the floor for the third quarter.
Montanez scored on a rebound layup that triggered an 11-2 run .
We were just focused on making a statement, said Glasgow, who converted 3 3-pointers and was 4-of-4 from the free throw line. Because we really excited about this season.
Dineen sees the season moving forward in time.
Weve got to get back to the drawing board but well be OK, he said. Its pretty embarrassing. I was hoping we wouldnt give up as many points as we did this game in our first three games. This wasnt the start we wanted but thats an excellent basketball team we played.
Dineen liked the play he got off the bench from 5-foot-11 freshman Chloe Ekenberg and 5-11 sophomore Melanie Despinich. who each contributed 5 points.
They came in, got their feet wet and played well, he said. Other than that there werent too many positives but well be OK.