2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 3/3/2011 11:01 PM

'Friend' Medley stands in Holloway's way

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  • Images from the Montini vs. Grayslake Central girls supersectional basketball game Monday, February 28.

      Images from the Montini vs. Grayslake Central girls supersectional basketball game Monday, February 28.
    Bill Zars | Staff Photographer


Whitney Holloway counts Zahna Medley among her 1,640 friends on Facebook.

Montini's star point guard has Facebooked with her All-State counterpart from Springfield a few times. Montini assistant Caprice Smith even told the two they looked like twins with their braided hair at last year's state tournament.

Holloway couldn't recall facing Medley in AAU but was reminded by family that her Midwest Elite team "killed" Medley's Illinois Pizazz over the summer.

They always say hi at AAU events, even if a full conversation has never taken place.

"I think it's the fact that we respect each other," Holloway said, "which is cool."

That friendly respect takes a slight backseat for two hours today at Redbird Arena.

Holloway and Montini are after their second straight state championship. Medley might be the biggest obstacle standing in their way.

All eyes will be on two of the best point guards in the state.

"It's a little pressure," Holloway said, "but it's more about playing your game and having fun. Before the game we'll shake hands and get a little smile. But I'm not going out of my way to talk to her."

Montini won last year's meeting 57-40, and Holloway got the upper hand in the individual matchup. Holloway scored 19 points, including two big 3-pointers during a key second-quarter run. Medley was held to 12 points, well below her average.

"I feel older, more experienced -- I should try to dominate," admitted Holloway, a year Medley's senior. "There's always a little competition when you play the same position."

Medley doesn't exactly qualify as one of Holloway's main "rivals." Simple geography is reason enough. Holloway hasn't even heard of some of Springfield's opponents.

Bolingbrook's Ariel Massengale and Whitney Young's Chanise Jenkins, both seniors like Holloway, better fill the bill as rival.

But Holloway knew Springfield and Medley were back in the supersectionals this year, with a chance of winning. She planned to surf the Internet this week to check out who Springfield has beaten.

And Holloway has seen tape of the improved Medley, particularly footage of Medley's 31-point effort Monday against Breese Mater Dei.

"She's hit a lot more 3s than last year -- her shooting has definitely improved," Holloway said. "She's really strong, never fades away from the basket, gets into the defender, makes a shot or gets fouled. And her defense is pretty good."

Medley seems to play her best in the big games. You can make a good case Holloway does, too.

Besides last year's state semifinal, Holloway scored 18 points in Montini's near upset of Bolingbrook in 2010, went for 17 against Geneva in November and scored a career-high 28 in beating 4A-ranked Marian Catholic in December.

"You see it in Medley's game, how much she's improved," Montini coach Jason Nichols said, "but I wouldn't trade Whitney Holloway for the world."

Maybe Holloway's biggest advantage on Medley? Her supporting cast.

Holloway knows she didn't just bottle up Medley by herself last year. It is hard to imagine Montini losing today unless Medley "goes off."

On the flip side Holloway knows talented teammates like Whitney Adams, Kiki Wilson, Kasey Reaber and Nikia Edom make her job easier.

"It's great to have people that can pick you up," Holloway said. "Montini is definitely not a one-person show."

Come about 2 p.m. today, Holloway and Medley can exchange postgame handshakes and resume their long-distance friendship.

Only one will have the chance Saturday to update their Facebook status to read what matters most to them:

State champion.