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See Jackie run. See Jackie lead the fastbreak. See Jackie drive between two defenders. See Jackie lead Rolling Meadows to another victory.
Fans at the Montini Christmas Tournament got a front row seat to the Jackie Kemph show Thursday in Lombard. The 5-foot-6 junior had 34 points, five assists and four steals as the No. 7 Mustangs advanced to the tournament semifinals with a 78-65 victory over Zion-Benton.
Rollling Meadows (15-0) will play No. 2 Marian Catholic Friday in an 8:00 p.m. semifinal. Marian Catholic’s first order of business? Stopping No. 3.
“She makes those plays every day in practice,” Rolling Meadows coach Ryan Kirkorsky said. “She’s a kid you want to have on your side.”
Kemph ignited a 13-0 run toward the end of the second quarter with a pair of breakout baskets, then found Ashley Montanez under the hoop as Rolling Meadows built a 35-20 halftime lead.
“This was a fun game, a good game,” Kemph said. “We love running, so it was a fun game. I just try to attack and help my teammates. I try to draw the defenders in so I can help everyone else.”
Zion-Benton (11-3) tried closing the gap in the third quarter, bagging five three-pointers including two apiece by Kaitlyn Stabenow (nine points) and Samantha Rodriguez (19 points).
But Rolling Meadows had answer every time.
“We tried as soon as they scored to get out and go,” Kemph said. “We don’t want to sit back. We just want to keep going. We don’t want to be satisfied.”
Alexis Glasgow added 17 points for the Mustangs and Jenny Vliet, Morgan Keller and Montanez each had eight. Syerra Cunningham added 12 and Mia Yarbrough tossed in 11 for the Zee-Bees.
“Rolling Meadows is a real solid team,” Zion-Benton coach Tanya Johnson said. “We knew that coming in. We had a game plan. If the kids had stuck with the game plan we would have been in a little better shape. We shot ourselves in the foot. We made a lot mistakes.”
Johnson said Kemph wasn’t the only problem Rolling Meadows posed. The Mustangs also hurt the Zee-Bees on the boards.
“It’s a simple thing called boxing out,” she said. “Boxing out is all about heart and desire. You don’t box out with a good team like this, or any team, you’re going to end up getting down, and we did.”