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Article updated: 12/29/2010 12:07 AM
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Montini adjusts to Indiana basketball
 

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Montini adjusts to Indiana basketball
  • Kasey Reaber of montini looks for an open player during the Montini vs. Columbus game at Montini Tuesday.

    Purchase Photo | Kasey Reaber of montini looks for an open player during the Montini vs. Columbus game at Montini Tuesday. PAUL MICHNA | Staff Photographer

  •  Whitney Holloway looks to pass around a Columbus defender during the Montini vs. Columbus game at Montini Tuesday.

    Purchase Photo | Whitney Holloway looks to pass around a Columbus defender during the Montini vs. Columbus game at Montini Tuesday. PAUL MICHNA | Staff Photographer

  • PAUL MICHNA/Pmichna@dailyherald.com Tianna Brown of Montini fights off a Columbus defender for a rebound during the Montini vs. Columbus game at Montini Tuesday.

    PAUL MICHNA/Pmichna@dailyherald.com Tianna Brown of Montini fights off a Columbus defender for a rebound during the Montini vs. Columbus game at Montini Tuesday.

 

Montini has spent the first six weeks of the season dominating teams from every corner of Illinois.

A bunch of Hoosiers had other ideas.

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Columbus North from Indiana slowed down the top-ranked Broncos but couldn't stop Montini from a 52-35 win in the final game of pool play Tuesday at the Montini Christmas Tournament.

Montini's halftime lead was just 19-16, but a 14-2 third-quarter run ultimately turned the tide.

"Typical Indiana team -- very fundamentally sound. They're really good," said Montini senior Whitney Holloway. "They catch the ball, they read the defense, they can shoot, really good on defense. They just don't make many mistakes."

Columbus North (9-3) was ranked earlier this season in Indiana's large-school class. The Bulldogs methodical style channels the "five passes before a shot" mantra Gene Hackman preached in the movie Hoosiers.

Unlike most of Montini's opponents, Columbus North eschews zone defense for strictly Bobby Knight man-to-man.

Together it had Columbus North ahead 16-15 with 2:17 left in the first half after a Molly Rinehart jumper. A pair of Diamond Thompson baskets nudged Montini ahead at the half.

"Montini's a big team, and we know they are very good," Columbus North coach Pat McKee said. "At some point we decided not to worry about that. We just played our game as best as we could. We were right there, but they are so big and so strong. It was like a boxing match, a heavyweight against a middleweight."

Montini, shooting 37 percent from 3-point range on the season, was 0 of 10 in the first half and missed its first 11 before Holloway hit a corner 3-pointer to start the second half.

Holloway made three shots from deep in the third quarter and scored 11 of her game-high 17 points in the period. Holloway's third 3-pointer pushed Montini ahead 39-26 to end the quarter.

"Probably the best defense we've seen all year," Holloway said. "They play really good position defense. We just had to stay confident in ourselves and keep on shooting it."

Montini coach Jason Nichols admitted facing a man defense was a curveball for Montini, which will play Bogan tonight and Marian Catholic on Thursday.

"We've played 17 games this year; this is our third time seeing man," Nichols said. "I thought that took us some time to adjust and understand our reads. We read zones so much better because we see it all the time. Holloway, they were giving her the three-ball, and she wasn't ready. Second half she was ready to shoot."

Montini (17-0) got big nights from its two posts, Tianna Brown with 12 points and Thompson with 6. Kiki Wilson had 11 points and Kasey Reaber 7 assists, 6 steals and 4 rebounds.

Miami (Ohio) recruit Courtney Larson led Columbus North with 9 points.

"That was great to be tested," Nichols said. "We haven't been tested much. Typical Indiana, Larry Bird, Damon Bailey type of basketball players. Credit to them."

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