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Article updated: 3/1/2011 12:24 AM
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Montini winning because stars don't have to star
 

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Montini winning because stars don't have to star
  • Bill Zars/bzars@dailyherald.com The Montin Lady Broncos react to their win over the Grayslake Central Rams at the Hoffman Estates High School Supersectional.

    Bill Zars/bzars@dailyherald.com The Montin Lady Broncos react to their win over the Grayslake Central Rams at the Hoffman Estates High School Supersectional.

 

Kasey Reaber has scored some 400 fewer points this year than she did as a junior.

She'll trade it all for one more state championship.

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That's the kind of selflessness Montini coach Jason Nichols loves. It has probably given him a new appreciation for Reaber after game-planning against her for three years.

"Trading individual success for team success," Nichols said. "Every day we talk about it."

At Driscoll and then Immaculate Conception Reaber dominated the ball, facilitated the offense and did a lion's share of the scoring.

At Montini she knew that wouldn't be the case, and that's OK with her. Reaber will just as soon throw the skip pass for a teammate's 3-pointer.

Montini's offense is geared around Whitney Holloway going to the basket and superb ball movement to set up open 3s. In it Reaber has found her niche.

"I know what my role is," Reaber said. "I'm not expecting to score 20 points a game. I just do what I can -- get the boards, play tough down low. I'm not going to get a lot of points, so I try to drive and create for my teammates."

Reaber probably has discovered in herself a game she didn't know she had. On the back line of Montini's matchup zone, Reaber is a solid weakside rebounder. She had 13 boards in Montini's first playoff game, 9 Monday to go with 5 assists.

Reaber is behind only Holloway on Montini in assists and steals.

"Every team needs a kid like Kasey," Nichols said, "someone who doesn't care if she scores. How many rebounds does she get? How many assists? Those are things that get overlooked on a team full of stars. The reality is Kasey is a star -- a really good player."

The scoring line might not show it, but then maybe Reaber has grown as a player.

She isn't the only Montini senior who can say that.

Nichols has pushed Whitney Adams as hard as any Montini player the last four years. He sees limitless potential waiting to burst out.

Few 6-foot-2 high school forwards shoot the 3 as well as Adams. The North Carolina recruit hit 4 in the state championship game last year and leads Montini in 3-point shooting this year.

But during the playoffs, Adams' shot has been off. Every shooter goes through slumps.

A lesser player's game would go completely in the tank. Maybe in the past Adams could plead guilty to that.

Not these playoffs. She's dominated the boards, controlling the defensive glass. Adams had double-digit rebounds in three straight playoff games leading up to Monday.

Against Grayslake Central, Adams had 9 points to lead a 40-24 advantage on the boards and scored 12 points. Many of those baskets came near the basket.

Adams even dropped off a dandy of a pass to Tianna Brown while driving to the basket to set up a score.

The shooting?

Nichols has a feeling it comes around in Normal.

"Her shot's not falling -- people, don't guard her, please, because she'll hit 'em," he said. "But if she doesn't she goes inside and does a lot of good things. She's been unbelievable."

jwelge@dailyherald.com

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