Jackie Kemph listened well at the walk-through for the Rolling Meadows girls basketball team on Thursday.
Then later that night, she raced through the Zion-Benton defense.
The Mustangs junior guard delivered a career-high 34 points as Meadows topped the Zee-Bees 78-65 in the quarterfinals finals of the Montini Tournament.
The 16-team event had been billed as one of the finest in the state.
And it doesn't get much better than tonight when undefeated state powers Rolling Meadows (15-0) and Marian Catholic (13-0) will square off in the 8:15 p.m. semifinal.
The first semifinal features highly-regarded Montini (16-1) and Plainfield East (14-0) at 6:30 p.m.
Kemph bested her previous high of 31 points against Hersey three weeks ago.
She made 13 of 15 free throws on Thursday while collecting 5 assists and 4 steals.
"We talked at our walk-through about how Zion-Benton (11-3) likes to pressure defensively," said Mustangs coach Ryan Kirkorsky. "And we talked about attacking pressure with pressure and Jackie did a fantastic job doing that."
Alexis Glasgow added 17 points with 4 steals and 3 assists while Jenny Vliet (11 rebounds), Ashley Montanez (8 rebounds) and Morgan Keller each chipped in 8 points for the Mustangs.
"Zion-Benton is a solid team," Kirkorsky said. "There are tough matchups all over the floor."
The Mustangs were especially tough in the second quarter when they outscored the Zee-Bees 23-6.
"We defended well there and boxed out well," Kirkorsky said. "And that led to our transition."
Next up is Marian Catholic, which was the champion of the Maine West Tip-Off Classic.
"They are highly ranked," Kirkorsky said. "They have great athletes all over the floor. It's just a matter of executing on the defensive end and continuing to push the ball up the floor."
Marian Catholic 59, Fremd 41: The Vikings (14-4) held a 33-32 lead midway through the third quarter and trailed by only 4 points going into the final period.
But the Spartans (13-0) were able to outscore the Vikes 20-6 in the final eight minutes to remain undefeated in the Montini Tournament.
"We just ran out of gas down the stretch and their depth got the better of us," said Fremd coach Dave Yates.
Senior guard Ashley McConnell led the Vikes with 22 points while freshman Brianna Lewis had 6 and senior Bernie Williams 5. Senior forward Marilyn Lortz did not play (ankle injury).
"I was very proud of our girls," Yates said. "We were going toe-to-toe to them with them for three full quarters while playing down two starters."
Sophomore standout Haley Gorecki, the team's top scorer and rebounder, remains sidelined with an ankle injury, too.
"This is another example of how deep we are," Yates added "Marian Catholic brings two Division I girls off the bench and is one of the top teams in the state.
"We battled all game long and just had three or four poor possessions in the fourth quarter that gave them to chance to open the game up. They hit some big shots to get the lead on us. I was very pleased with our effort and toughness in this game."
McConnell connected for five 3-pointers.
"Ashley had another big game for us," Yates said. "She knocked down those huge 3-pointers to keep us hanging around in the game. It is one thing to score some points, but to do it when two to three girls are draped all over you, makes it all the more impressive."
Prospect 58, Johnsburg 20: After a tough opening-round loss to Rockton Hononegah in the Dundee-crwon Charger Classic, the Knights bounced back with a strong performance on Thursday as senior guard Adriane Falagario led the way with 15 points, including 3 3-pointers.
"Defense was the big thing," said Falagario, after the Knights (8-7) gave up its fewest points of the season. "When we played hard-nosed defense, it created out offense. Our hard-nosed defense, it creates offense. They key is working the ball on offense because then we can get better shots."
Falagario made 3 of her 4 shots from 2-point range and she also 6 rebounds with 3 assists.
Also reaching double figures for Prospect were Michele Molini (14 points) and Taylor Will (12 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists). Catherine Sherwood grabbed 6 rebounds with her 5 points.
"Obviously, this is a very strong tournament," said Prospect coach Ashley Graham. "After our tough game the night before, we challenged the girls to turn things around. We were positive from the start and it was a great team win."
Maine West 50, Buffalo Grove 41: Five time Dundee-Crown Charger Classic champ Maine West was led by Brittany Collins (19 points, 11 rebounds) and Taylor Iaculla (12 points).
Lexi Prosperi chipped in 8 points and 3 assists for the Warriors (6-9) while Buffalo Grove (3-10) was paced by Julie Jambrone's 11 points. Kimberly Herzog added 7 and Bailey North grabbed 9 rebounds with her 5 points.
Christian Liberty 57, Harvest Christian 26: With junior guard Megan Sullivan hitting 83 percent from the field for a career-high 23 points, the Chargers (10-2) improved to 2-0 in the Aldron-Hebron tournament.
Harvest Christian (2-8) ended the Chargers' season in the Class 1A regional last season.
Sullivan, whose previous career-best was 21 points against Mooseheart on Dec. 12, also had two 3-pointers, 7 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks.
Shelbi Hernandez added 16 points, 8 rebounds 2 steals for the Chargers while Jess Moriarty collected 14 points with two 3-pointers and 4 assists. Vanessa Alas chipped in 4 points and Jenn West had 5 assists for the winners.
Saint Viator 55, Maine East 47: St. Viator junior guard Erin Fabbri tossed home 26 points with 3 steals and 2 rebounds as the Lions improved to 3-0 in their own Snowflake tourney and 9-8 overall.
Jennie Horstmann added 12 points for the winners while Michelle Presslak collected 7 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal.
Glenbrook South 38, Elk Grove 30: No. 8-seeded Elk Grove (9-6) led top-seeded Glenbrook South 26-24 heading into the final quarter of the quarterfinal match of the Bill Neibch Falcon Classic at Wheaton North.
But the Titans outscored the Grens 14-4 in the final eight minutes to advance to the semifinals.
Senior Diamond Boyd led Elk Grove with 17 points while senior Kelly Naughton added 8.
Schaumburg 62, West Aurora 44: Schaumburg improved to 7-8 by notching its first win in the Bill Neibch Falcon Classic at Wheaton North High School.
Wheeling 42, Grayslake Central 35: Deanna Kuzmanic (17 points), Brie Majkowski (13 points) and Hannah Dobrowski (11) were tops scorers for the Wildcats who finished 2-1 in pool play of the Blue devil Classic at Warren High school.
Kuzmanic and Majkowski each had a pair of 3-pointers while Dobrowski had one as the Wildcats improved to 6-11 and will face Palatine today at 6 p.m.
Grant 49, Hoffman Estates 43: Seniors Destinee Young (15 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals) and Becca Stoczynski (11 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assist, 2 steals) led Hoffman (8-4) in the second round of the Mundelein Tournament.
Shante Hill added 8 points and Mary Saitta 7 for the Hawks.