Montini couldn't have asked for a better final regular-season game to get it ready for the girls basketball playoffs.
The top-ranked Broncos needed two overtime periods to knock off Oswego East, the seventh-ranked team in Class 4A, 66-60 Wednesday night in Lombard.
"It's really important because it gives us a push of momentum," said Montini senior Claudia Kunzer, whose team is the No. 1 seed at the Argo sectional. "We just realized this is what games are going to be like in the playoffs. We've got to come out and play as hard as we can because no game is going to come easy."
So was staying with the state's best team for 40 minutes a moral victory to boost the Wolves' confidence?
"Yes and no," said Oswego East coach Abe Carretto, whose team wraps up the regular season Friday against cross-town rival Oswego. "I mean you're up 4 with 30 seconds or whatever it is. A loose ball, we hold onto the ball we win the game. We've had enough moral victories. There has been enough of those moral victories at the end of games. They want to win this thing, and they had an opportunity to, fighting back. Both teams did a great job of fighting back."
It looked like Oswego East (22-4) might finish the game in regulation when the Wolves took a 56-52 lead with 1:51 to play on a pair of Amaya Johns free throws. Montini tied the game at 56 with a minute to go on a Kunzer basket.
A layup by Wolves freshman guard Christine Corpuz off a Sydney Schultz assist with 12 seconds left in the first overtime sent the game to a second extra period tied at 60.
Montini (27-1) held the Wolves scoreless in the second overtime. The Broncos took the lead on a pair of Kunzer free throws, then extended the lead to 4 when Kunzer swished two more free throws with 26.4 seconds to go.
"Free throws win games," Kunzer said. "I've actually been working on my free throws a lot lately."
Kunzer, a 5-foot-6 point guard headed to South Dakota State, led Montini with 19 points and 14 rebounds. She made 8 of 10 free throws, and the Broncos were 15 of 18.
"Claudia's a beast when she wants to be," Nichols said. "When that kid wants to focus on rebounds she can rebound better than our posts, and that's not a rip on our posts. That's a compliment to Claudia. I thought her and Sam Mitchell were two of our better players."
Mitchell, a sophomore guard, scored 15 points on five 3-pointers.
Kaylee Bambule's two free throws with 8.5 seconds left made it clear who would win. Bambule finished with 10 points.
Missouri State recruit Schultz led Oswego East with 22 points, and Battle, an Indiana State recruit, scored 16.