Close not good enough for Montini
Montini can't rush the process, as much as it would like to.
Against St. Ignatius on Friday the Broncos played tougher defense, held their own on the backboards and kept the turnovers to single digits.
On the other hand their 28 percent shooting included 3 of 23 from 3-point range. The Broncos trimmed an 8-point deficit to 2 in the last minute before losing the Chicago Catholic League North boys basketball game 43-40 in Lombard.
"People say, 'Oh, you're doing better than last year,' but better than last year means absolutely nothing if you can't beat a good team," said Broncos coach Daryl Thomas.
Montini (9-6, 1-4) couldn't capitalize on St. Ignatius (7-10, 3-2) making only 3 second-half field goals and 15 of 30 free throws overall.
"A lot more ball movement, a lot more in-and-out play," said Thomas, describing his preference. "We have to understand, yeah, it's great to be making 3s but let's not get away from attacking the basket. Let's not get away from getting to the rim, and get to the free throw line."
Two quick Jayston Williams 3s and another by Matt Morrissey helped launch an 11-2 lead over the Wolfpack.
St. Ignatius coach Matt Monroe subbed, players whose slight height advantage created what Thomas had hoped Montini would do, go inside-out. All nine Wolfpack players scored, led by 6-foot-3 forward Luke Nauman with 9 points.
Trey Mack hit two 3s to help St. Ignatius tie the score 13-13 after one quarter. Nine seconds into the second Luke Deely scored inside and the Wolfpack were up for good.
"What we had to get solidified was our positioning off the ball on defense, which would make it easier to close out," Monroe said. "And we had to run them off the 3-point line instead of just kind of closing out halfway."
St. Ignatius led 25-19 at halftime and 34-26 after three quarters, enough margin to withstand Montini's final push.
Two Williams free throws and a Ray J Dennis 7-footer pulled Montini within 39-36 with 1:10 to play. A Mychale Hyland layup and his coast-to-coast drive twice brought the Broncos within 42-40 with 1.8 seconds left.
Though St. Ignatius' foul shooting generally suffered, Carter Higginbottom made tree in the last 16.9 seconds and Christian Davis provided the final margin with 0.1 second left.
Williams led all scorers with 16 points. Dennis scored 8, Morrissey 7.
"Coach kind of got on us a little bit (at halftime) and we just started kind of doing the game plan, which was try to get it inside but also to box out and rebound," said Williams, who grabbed 9 rebounds. "We were able to battle back, but if we would have done that in the second quarter or in the first quarter, to start it out like that, we would have had them down."