By Bob Narang, Special to the Tribune
10:10 AM EST, January 29, 2013
Mundelein's winning streak came to a screeching halt at four after Saturday's loss to Warren, but the Mustangs received some good news in the buzzer-beater defeat.
Last season's leading scorer, Robert Knar, played in his first game since undergoing surgery on his left knee in the summer. Knar, who scored 32 points in last season's sectional final loss to Warren, played 4.2 seconds of Mundelein's 63-60 loss to Warren.
The Mustangs have remained in the running for the North Suburban Lake Division title despite missing Knar. Mundelein (12-9, 5-3) defeated Auburn, Neuqua Valley, DeKalb and Lake Forest during its four-game streak.
The 6-foot-1 Knar gives the Mustangs another scorer and added depth, helping give more driving lanes and freedom for Southern Illinois-bound forward Sean O'Brien.
"We'll hopefully get on a roll the second time through conference, and we've got a big one coming up against Stevenson," Mundelein guard Quinn Pokora said. "We've got to keep running to be successful. Our offense and defense is predicated on running and speeding up the game. If we're running like we did against Lake Forest, we're scoring and going on runs. We have to keep it fast tempo."
Stevenson leads the NSL standings with a 6-2 record, with Zion-Benton (6-3) and Mundelein (5-3) right behind. The Mustangs lost to Stevenson but beat Zion-Benton in the first run through conference play.
"The conference is very strong, from top to bottom," Mundelein coach Richard Knar said. "Every game is a dogfight. Everybody is right there and I think it is a wide-open field."
The 6-7 O'Brien has carried the Mustangs during Knar's absence. He scored 26 points in a crucial win over Lake Forest last Thursday.
"Compared to two weeks ago, we're playing a lot better," O'Brien said. "Our practices have gotten tougher and we're all going harder. If we can get the game to our tempo we're a hard team to beat."