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Montini's Karlis opts to play at Ohio
 

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Montini's Karlis opts to play at Ohio
  • Kelly Karlis of Montini drives to the hoop during their victory over Crane in the girls Class 3A supersectional basketball game Monday, February 27, 2012 at Hinsdale Central.

    Purchase Photo | Kelly Karlis of Montini drives to the hoop during their victory over Crane in the girls Class 3A supersectional basketball game Monday, February 27, 2012 at Hinsdale Central. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 

Ohio University this spring hired a new women's basketball coach with a track record of turning programs into winners.

One thing Kelly Karlis knows, it's winning.

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The Montini senior gave her verbal commitment to Ohio and coach Bob Boldon this week.

At Montini Karlis and fellow seniors Sara Ross, a recent commit to IUPUI, and Kateri Stone have a staggering 105-8 record with two state championships and three state appearances.

Karlis, who missed much of her sophomore year with a knee injury, may very well have been Montini's best player by the end of last year. Karlis scored 18 points in the second half of Montini's near comeback against Vernon Hills in the Class 3A semifinal, tallied 16 points against Rolling Meadows at Christmas and 14 in an upset of Whitney Young at the McDonald's Shootout.

"I thought she was awesome at the end of the year from Whitney Young on, and she's carried it into AAU season," Montini coach Jason Nichols said. "She was really, really good."

Karlis averaged 8.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists as a junior. At 6-foot-2 she possesses guard-like ability to get to the rim, and Nichols noted she is now expanding her perimeter game.

"Kelly fills up stats and she has a great all-around game," he said. "And the other thing is she can defend the 1 through the 5. Her versatility is what makes her attractive to schools."

Karlis had offers from Northern Illinois, Dayton and Missouri-Kansas City, among others, and Kentucky had recently shown interest.

On a last-second visit to Ohio last weekend, she fell in love with it and committed.

"I've always wanted to go to a bigger school ever since I was little," she said. "It fit me perfectly. I liked the coaches and got to meet some of the girls."

Ohio is coming off a 6-23 season and is 50-103 over the last five years. But in Boldon, hired in March, the Bobcats seemed to have brought in a turnaround artist.

In his last stop, at Youngstown State, he inherited a program that had posted an 0-30 season in 2009-2010 and turned it into a WNIT participant by last season, posting two double-digit win seasons along the way. Karlis would become the second Illinois native on Ohio's roster. Kat Yelle, from Geneva, is a redshirt sophomore.

"I like the direction that they could be going in the next couple years," Karlis said. "I feel like I can go there and contribute, help them in all aspects of the game."

Follow Josh on Twitter @jwelge96

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