Montini seniors Leeberg, Prince deserve to savor super win
Notes, quotes and observations from the girls basketball road to state…
It was quite a scene to see Montini senior Cootie Leeberg hold the ball in her hands as the final seconds wound down in her team's 54-39 Class 3A St. Xavier University supersectional win over Washington Monday.
Leeberg is a four-year starter for the Broncos. After going through three straight supersectional losses, it seemed only fitting she got to experience the thrill of clinching a state berth.
Washington chose not to foul in the final 30 seconds, so Leeberg held the ball near midcourt wearing a smile the size of Texas. Fellow senior captain Shannon Prince, who was also present for those supersectional losses, came over to Leeberg and the two slapped hands before the final buzzer.
"It's just such a great feeling," Leeberg said. "It took us four years to get there, but finally it came."
A winning formula:ŒHinsdale Central and Waubonsie Valley fell victim to Bolingbrook in the Class 4A Neuqua Valley sectional, but that didn't take away from their great seasons.
They used teamwork to play better than the sum of their parts. Hinsdale Central finished 31-2 and Waubonsie Valley went 26-3.
Both coaches credited their players.
"A lot of them have to play a particular role and not just the kids that play a lot, but even the kids that don't play, and they're willing to do that, which is good parenting," Hinsdale Central coach Steve Gross said. "Write a story about what great parents they have because they brought them up to be selfless in that regard, so that's pretty cool."
Waubonsie Valley's Kris Kalivas had a lot of fun coaching the Warriors.
"They really are a good group of kids and a good group of parents," she said. "Pretty much anything we've thrown at the kids they've bought into and tried to put whatever philosophy we present before the game onto the floor."
Two too many:ŒGross doesn't like class expansion.
"Hopefully, they won't go to six or seven classes because pretty soon everybody will get a ribbon just for showing up," he said.
Eye of the Tiger:ŒCount Wheaton Warrenville South among the overachievers this season.
After losing all-area players Keilani Moeaki and Grace Delaney to graduation, Tigers coach Rob Kroehnke was hoping this year's club could go .500, but his players wound up repeating as DuPage Valley Conference champs.
"It was such a great year," Kroehnke said. "We went well beyond expectations. Sometimes when you don't expect one of those seasons it's a little bit more rewarding, and this was definitely one of them.
"There's no way we envisioned this. It's a credit to every one of our seniors, all six seniors, that we were able to do this because they've been there and they really understood what needed to be done."
Higher ground:ŒClass 2A Driscoll enjoyed its best season, going 25-6 en route to capturing its first regional and sectional titles.
"We're very pleased with our performance and we expect to do much better next year," Driscoll coach Steve McCuiston said.
Graduating only one senior, the Highlanders will be a team to watch next year.
"That'll be different for us," McCuiston said. "We're going to be more toward the top of the hill, maybe not the king of the hill, but we'll be up there where teams are looking to knock us off. We're not going to surprise anybody."
Three-ring circus: Downers Grove North coach Darrin Travillian doesn't like the 3-point shooting contest because of the way it can disrupt the main event.
"In the NCAA Tournament they don't have a 3-point shootout before a game," Travillian said. "It's such a circus atmosphere. I wish we could keep a routine. If you want your best basketball at the end of the season then let's stick with what we've been doing."
Sounds good to me. But then again, isn't life one big circus?