What a rewarding trip it's been for Antioch
On Friday the 30th -- not the 13th, fortunately -- Tim Borries talked out loud about a road trip he was considering making in the next few days.
More than a month away from a potential supersectional game for his team against mighty Montini, Antioch's girls basketball coach scratched his silver goatee as he weighed whether to go scout the defending Class 3A state champs.
Montini, mind you, was not on Antioch's schedule.
He didn't want to "jinx it."
After all, while a victory over Grant on Jan. 30 stretched Antioch's winning streak to 21 games, the Sequoits knew winning their own sectional was what they absolutely had to accomplish this season.
Mission -- deep sigh of relief -- accomplished.
"It worked," Borries said Thursday night after his Sequoits lived up to their No. 1 sectional seed by beating No. 2 North Chicago 58-43 in the championship game at Antioch. "I scouted (Montini). I'm glad I did. Now I got film."
So much for possibly jinxing his team. Borries traveled to Marist on Chicago's south to watch Montini play a Saturday matinee in early February. He saw a Broncos team coached by Jason Nichols that's both talented and deep.
Behind Kaylee Bambule's 18 points on six 3-pointers, Montini beat Marshall 54-45 for the Orr sectional title. Montini (29-5) and Antioch (30-3) tip off against each other at 6 p.m. Monday in the Hoffman Estates supersectional, with the winner advancing downstate.
"His second team is just as good as his first team," Borries said of Nichols. "It's constant half-court pressure. We have to make sure we're ready for that. I think if we're ready for it, we'll be OK. We can't make foolish passes. We have to be fundamentally strong."
For Antioch, protecting the basketball starts with super sophomore point guard Ashley Reiser, who makes enough plays to offset for her sometimes-high amount of turnovers. She directs an offense that plays fast and has scored at least 50 points in 27 of 33 games. Ashley and her twin Amy lead the Sequoits in scoring. Amy averages a team-leading 13 points per game, while Ashley checks in at 12 ppg and 6 assists per contest.
Meanwhile, with her 6-foot frame and even longer wingspan, Carly McCameron anchors the back end of the defense. The senior has posted multiple double-doubles in points and rebounds this season, and her shot-blocking provides the Sequoits a weapon that no other player on their team possesses. She had 13 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks against North Chicago.
Amy Reiser was 2 steals shy of her first triple-double, as she finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 8 steals. Ashley Reiser had 8 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists.
So who's been the Sequoits' MVP this season?
"What day?" Borries asked.
During a timeout against North Chicago, with Antioch's spirited crowd cheering loudly, Borries looked his players in their eyes and insisted to them that they enjoy the moment.
"I told them, 'This is fun, girls. These are your classmates yelling and screaming,' " Borries said. "You could see it (on their faces) that, 'Wow, this is really happening.' "
The whole season has been "Wow" for the Sequoits. Winning big games has been the norm since going 3-2 in Niles North's Thanksgiving tournament. Antioch won the Lisle Holiday Cage Classic, then Lake Forest's MLK tournament, then the North Suburban Prairie Division, then the NSC championship game, then the Wauconda regional, then their own sectional.
"They're used to winning the championship games," Borries said. "They know what it takes to win. (Assistant coach) Grant Murray always says, 'You play for trophies.' And you do. That's why there's a scoreboard."
With another trophy secured, Borries finally went home late Thursday night. Mentally exhausted, he didn't expect to come down from his high anytime soon.
"I won't be able to sleep tonight," he said with a smile that wouldn't go away. "I'll be on Cloud Nine for a while."
Until 6 p.m. Monday.
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