Montini was ready to celebrate the No. 10 Thursday night in Glen Ellyn.
That was 10 as in 10 consecutive girls basketball sectional championships, earned by the 10 3-pointers the Broncos dropped on Marshall in a dominating 54-31 Class 3A playoff victory at Glenbard South.
"That's 10 in a row. That's awesome," Montini coach Jason Nichols said of the sectional streak.
The top-seeded Broncos (31-2) separated themselves from the No. 3 Commandos (23-8) late in the first quarter when sophomore guard Lea Kerstein came off the bench to hit a pair of 3-pointers and freshman guard Kaylee Bambule added another for a 16-8 lead at the end of the period.
"We were 10 of 25 (3-pointers in the game), so I was not the only one," said Broncos senior Kateri Stone, who hit 4 and finished with a game-high 17 points. We had Kelly (Karlis) hit some clutch shots, Lea was great off the bench, so it was definitely a team effort."
"I was very surprised (Marshall) came out in a 1-3-1 (zone defense), and our kids took advantage of it between Lea, Kateri and I want to say Kaylee hit one early," Nichols added. "... We also got out in transition and got our shooters in space.
"But the biggest thing to me was I thought we defended really well. We knew exactly what they were doing. we were matched up against it. Outside of a couple of missed opportunities on the glass, and them getting second-chance opportunities, I felt we could've held that team to 20. And I told those girls that back there, and they were probably like, are you kidding me? Will you ever let loose or let go? Guys, come on. I go, Let's try to be excellent, let's not try to be great. And that's what we're always trying to do."
By halftime Montini led 30-15 after holding the Commandos to 2-of-22 shooting for the second period. Marshall made just 9 of 51 shots in the game.
"I thought our defense was pretty good. I was proud," Montini senior Sara Ross said. "We were talking, which is good. We usually don't. I think everybody pulled together, boxed out and got the win."
"They're a good team, and we didn't play one of our better games," Marshall coach Dorothy Gaters added. "It had something to do with their defense, I'm sure."
The Montini lead passed the 20-point mark to start the third quarter when Stone and Karlis opened with a 3-pointer apiece. Marshall never got closer than 15 points again, in part because Montini refused to let the Commandos go on any scoring runs.
"They are a huge 8-0, 10-0, 10-2 team," Nichols said. "They might have had 4-0s, but then we answered with a 3 or we answered with a quick bucket."
"We talked about stopping the ball because they are really fast and like to run, so our main focus was getting back, making sure we get total coverage," Ross added.
Montini moves to the Hinsdale Central supersectional at 6 p.m. Monday to play DeLaSalle.
Gaters, who has won eight state championships, will have to wait until next year's season opener to try again to win her 1,000th game.
"Actually I just wanted to win this one more game and then on to the next one," Gaters said. "We had a great season, and my focus really wasn't on the 1,000th win. If I get them I get them. I have to really find someone that's going to want to open with us next year. That probably won't be too easy."
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