Having won more than 100 basketball games with Ashley Reiser as his point guard, Antioch coach Tim Borries has seen his senior captain play well.
Thursday night, well, Reiser might have never played better.
And the timing couldn't have been better. Behind Reiser's 17 points, which included a 5-of-8 effort from beyond the arc, and 9 assists, top-seeded Antioch routed No. 2 Johnsburg 65-29 in the Class 3A Johnsburg sectional final. The 5-foot-4 guard also blocked a shot and took a charge.
"Ashley played maybe her best game in the four years I've seen her," Borries said. "Shooting, ballhandling, patience ... she did it. And she was having fun at the same time."
"Coach knows best," a smiling Reiser quipped. "I trust him with everything. So it must have been my best game."
It might have been Antioch's best game too. Mind you, the victory was the Sequoits' 30th and 21st straight.
"I was so excited the whole time," said Erika Gallimore, who scored a game-high 23 points, two shy of her season high, and added 5 steals. "I couldn't stop smiling out there."
The 36-point win advanced Antioch (30-3) to Monday's 7 p.m. River Forest supersectional at Concordia University against Marshall. By beating Johnsburg (25-9), the Sequoits captured their second sectional championship in three years.
In four seasons with Ashley and her twin Amy, Antioch is 109-20.
"I think we just went out there wanting it really badly," Amy Reiser said after totaling 10 points, 5 assists and 3 steals. "We just said, 'Let's keep the energy up and do what we have to do to win and play how we play.' We got the lead, kept the lead and stayed focused and disciplined."
Ashley's first 3-pointer put Antioch up 5-2, and the Sequoits played like a confident group the rest of the way. Antioch patiently moved the ball against a zone defense that Johnsburg stayed in the whole time and, ultimately, Ashley Reiser put the Skyhawks on their heels with her penetration and vision.
She dished out 5 assists in the opening half, including one that Julia Murillo finished at the basket in the closing seconds to stretch the Sequoits' lead to 27-13 at halftime.
"It was good," Gallimore said of the Sequoits' patience. "We still got to the basket with them in that zone."
Antioch blew the game open in the third quarter, outscoring the Skyhawks 23-12, as Ashley Reiser took over. She drained three 3-pointers in a 51-second span to make it 41-19 with 4:51 left. Gallimore's 2 free throws completed an 8-3 run to close the third and make it 50-25.
"I was just in my zone," Ashley Reiser said. "My teammates have complete trust in me, and I couldn't thank them more for that. They told me to shoot."
Besides his "Big 3" of the Reiser twins and Gallimore, Borries also credited Taylor Feltner (7 points, 2 of 3 from three-point range) and Piper Foote, who guarded Johnsburg sharpshooter Aannah Interrante. Foote held Interrante to 1 basket in the first half. Interrante knocked down three 3-pointers in the third quarter and scored a team-high 11 points.
"She's a really good ballhandler so it was hard to stay with her, especially when she changed directions," Foote said. "But it was really just the help of my teammates on the help line and our trap that helped me shut her down in the first half."
It was the 18th time Antioch held an opponent to fewer than 40 points. The Sequoits helped force Johnsburg into 26 turnovers, while committing only 10 themselves. Through three quarters, the Skyhawks made just 9 of 33 shots (27 percent).
"I was a little nervous coming into this game because they have size and they have shooters," Borries said of the Skyhawks. "But I told myself, 'If we play our game, we should be OK.' Tonight, we played our game. It's about the first complete game we had all year."