Before every game Montini's Nikia Edom closes her eyes, puts on the headphones and previsions the action in her head.
She never imagined Thursday going this well.
Edom scored 23 points and Montini avenged a December loss to St. Joseph in emphatic fashion with a 75-35 rout in the Class 3A Glenbard South sectional final.
Montini (30-5), which won its eighth straight sectional a record it shares with Bolingbrook ripped off a 26-1 run to end the first half up 38-12.
The Broncos didn't let up.
"I envisioned us winning, but nothing like this," Edom said. "It always feels good when the team plays as a whole well."
Two-time defending state champion Montini moves on to play Crane, a 47-42 winner over Guerin, in Monday's 6 p.m. supersectional at Hinsdale Central.
Edom is the only Montini guard with significant playoff experience, and the sharp-shooting junior has brought her best lately. Edom, the sixth man on last year's title team, is averaging 16 points over Montini's last five games.
She set the tone right away Thursday, knocking down four 3-pointers in the first quarter. The fourth gave Montini a 15-11 lead, igniting the stunning 26-1 burst.
"I'm motivated to go to state again," Edom said. "Losing (Whitney) Holloway and those other seniors from last year's team, nobody really thinks that we can do it again. That's been my motivation. My teammates did a great job tonight of finding me when I was hot."
St. Joseph (22-11) trailed 21-11 seconds into the second quarter, and bad went to worse when Chargers standout Briya Wilborn went to the bench with two fouls.
The bottom fell out on St. Joseph, and Montini poured it on.
"They just jumped on us and were unmerciful, like I would have been," St. Joseph coach Jim Maley said. "We were right with them when Briya went out of the game, but we just got completely out of sync when whe was out of the game. We could never get back in."
St. Joseph managed just 1 free throw in the second quarter and went almost 13 minutes without a made field goal.
"We played great on-ball defense, and we were getting tips and deflections our length killed them," Montini coach Jason Nichols said. "Our pressure was not that effective, but it allowed us to dictate pace. We thought if we could dictate tempo and pace, make their seven kids play 32 minutes we could wear them down."
Montini is 15-1 since a 39-34 loss to St. Joseph Dec. 29, a game the Broncos led well into the second half despite 25 turnovers and 11 missed layups.
That loss might prove a blessing in disguise.
"Usually I'm devastated after a loss," Nichols said, "but after that one I told them this is going to help our team. We might have won that game, but it would have been harder to convince them that we have to come to play."
Montini's defense smothered St. Joseph into 20 turnovers, and when the Chargers got into the lane Broncos 6-foot-4 juniors Diamond Thompson and Malayna Johnson were a menace near the basket. Johnson had 6 points, 4 rebounds and 5 blocks and Thompson 8 points, 5 rebounds and 5 blocks.
Her coach took notice.
"Diamond stepped up," Nichols said. "She's been in a little bit of a rut lately, and I asked her, 'Did you expect to play tonight?' and she said no. She was great."
Wilborn scored 10 point for St. Joseph. Angela Talley added 8 and Kateri Stone 6 for Montini.