Fenton forward Sidney Montano has her own unique style when it comes to shooting free throws.
Montano starts well back of the foul line, spins the ball while taking a step forward to get some momentum and then shoots it. She says that being able to walk into the shot helps her get into a rhythm and by doing this "it goes in better."
That was the case for the senior in Thursday's girls basketball game against Elmwood Park in Metro Suburban Conference play. Montano sank 4 free throws in the game's final 1:01 as the the Bison captured a 44-36 victory over the host Tigers. She finished with a team-high 18 points, including a 9-for-11 effort from the foul line.
In addition to the free throws, Fenton showed its inside-outside balance by hitting some big long-range shots in the waning moments. Guard Tina Guarino nailed a pair of 3-pointers and backcourt mate Alissa Whyte sank another 3 to help stave off a Elmwood Park comeback.
"The coaches are always telling me to shoot outside," said Guarino, who tallied 13 points. "That is my strength. Sometimes I get a little tentative, but I knew if we were going to beat this team we definitely needed a spark and I had it going."
"We were looking for outside shots a little more and swinging the ball," Montano said. "By swinging it, we were able to more clear shots from our 3-pointers because we have good 3-pointers. They were obviously packing in the middle and not letting us get anything in the inside."
Early on, it looked like the Bison (14-5, 4-2) were going to run away with the contest. While the Tigers drew first blood with the game's first field goal, Fenton then reeled off 20 unanswered points fueled by a number of Elmwood Park turnovers. The visitors led 20-4 at the end of the first quarter and 24-14 at halftime.
The Tigers (5-13, 3-6) countered with talented guard Joanna Bukowinski, a good shooter and nearly impossible to stop when driving to the hoop. Bukowinski sliced through the Fenton defense for numerous buckets to power her team's rally. The senior finished with a team-high 20 points.
"Joanna is one of the best players in the area," said Elmwood Park coach Brian Linhart. "If we can feed off her, she can create and the rest of us can follow."
However, the closest the Tigers got in the fourth quarter was trailing 34-31 with 6:02 to play after a nice move to the hoop by Bukowinski.
"We definitely came in and were ready to play," Montano said. "I guess we got a little overconfident and that bit us in the butt a little and we had to make a run to make sure we push it again in order to get the win."
"Give our kids all the credit in the world for doing that," said Fenton coach Tim Anderson, whose team was outscored 32-24 in the last three quarters. "They overcame it by accomplishing something. Those were big shots (by Guarino, Whyte and Montano)."