Montini duo shoots Broncos past Burlington Central
It takes more than a slap to the face to rattle Montini's Sam Mogilinski.
The senior shrugged off an inadvertent blow late in the fourth quarter of Tuesday's Class 3A Kaneland sectional semifinal while her timely long-range shooting helped the Broncos blow past Burlington Central, 54-35 in Maple Park.
Mogilinski knocked down four 3-pointers and scored 20 points while sophomore Victoria Matulevicius led the Broncos with 22 points.
"It's part of the game," Mogilinski said with a laugh. "It was a team effort. It could be anyone's night and tonight it was a total team effort on offense and defense."
Montini (25-8), which advances to Thursday's sectional championship game against Sycamore (31-2), never trailed.
"We brought the energy at the beginning," Matulevicius said. "I think we shut one player down and I think it affected their whole momentum and they just weren't ready for it. You never know when the season is going to end so we just leave everything on the court. Every second, every play matters."
Burlington Central (23-10) got some clutch baskets from senior Rylie DuVal to hang with the Broncos. DuVal led the Rockets with 11 points, burying a 3-pointer just before halftime to cut the deficit to single digits and then struck late in the third quarter with another 3-pointer to end a Montini run at 35-26.
"Whenever we got some things going and knocked down some big shots, they always had an answer right back and it deflated our confidence a little bit," Burlington Central coach Collin Kalamatas said. "That didn't stop us from working hard and pushing through it, but they never cooled off so give them a ton of credit."
Taylor Charles, who helped Montini take third in the state in Class 3A in 2020, had seven points against her former team. Sophomore Emma Payton also chipped in with seven points.
After milking down the clock, Mogilinski knocked down her final three-pointer with 24 seconds left in the third quarter. She proceeded to take a charge on the other end and then drew a foul on a press break before the buzzer sounded and converted both free throws for a 40-26 lead.
"Every defensive play matters and it's one play at a time getting a defensive stop," Mogilinski said. "If it's not your night on offense you can make it up on the defensive end. You can help your team even if your not hitting shots as long as you're playing hard on defense every single time."
DuVal's pullup jumper to open the second half pulled the Rockets to within 26-21 but they would not get any closer.
"I told the girls at halftime that we weathered the storm and were in a good position for as many turnovers as we had and for how well (Montini) was shooting," Kalamatas said. "They shot it so well. Montini played good enough to win that game any day of the week."
Sophomore Alyssa Epps added seven points and senior Sawyer White grabbed six rebounds for the Broncos.