2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 3/2/2018 11:01 PM

Montini returning to state championship game

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  • Players on the Montini bench celebrate a basket by their team during the Class 4A girls basketball semfinal against Edwardsville at Redbird Arena in Normal Friday.

      Players on the Montini bench celebrate a basket by their team during the Class 4A girls basketball semfinal against Edwardsville at Redbird Arena in Normal Friday.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer


NORMAL -- Montini held Edwardsville to a season-low 30 points Friday night in the Class 4A semifinals, and coach Jason Nichols said it could have been even better.

"I don't mean this with any disrespect, I felt we could have held them under 20 today," Nichols said. "But 30 is great. Our defense, our length, really disrupted them on the perimeter."

Edwardsville made just 12 of 45 shots and Montini led from the first quarter on in its 37-30 victory, avenging a semifinal loss to Edwardsville last year.

Montini (34-2), which has won four Class 3A titles, will go for its first in Class 4A when the Broncos play Geneva (30-3) at 7:15 p.m. Saturday.

The Broncos defeated the defending state champion Vikings 52-50 in the championship game of the Montini Christmas Tournament.

Montini held Edwardsville to 7 points in the first quarter, 8 in the second, 8 in the third and 7 in the fourth to make up for its own offensive struggles that saw it shoot 40.5 percent from the field while making just 4 of 15 of its 3-point attempts and 3 of 7 at the line.

Aaliyah Patty, Lindsey Jarosinski and Ilysse Pitts combined for all but 3 of Montini's 37 points.

"It wasn't pretty basketball but that happens sometimes," Nichols said. "They took away our primary offense all day. It felt great to find a way to win not playing our best."

Edwardsville (30-1) led early 7-2 on a three-point play by Jaylen Townsend. The Tigers only shot two more free throws the rest of the way against Montini's zone.

Montini forced Edwardsville to win from the outside, and the Tigers couldn't.

"Kudos to Montini, they made more shots than we did tonight," Edwardsville coach Lori Blade said. "We had some open looks and they just didn't go down tonight. We just didn't hit shots."

The 6-foot-5 Jarosinski and 6-3 Patty took turns feeding each other on high-low passes early in the game, then Patty ended the first quarter scoring with a 3-point basket from the top of the key after Sydney Prochaska kept the possession alive with an offensive rebound.

"After four years we learn more about each other, we learn our strengths and weaknesses," Patty said of Jarosinski. "We feed off that. We have come a long way since freshman year. I think it's helping us have two bigs in the game, it is hard for teams to defend us."

Up 10-7 after Patty's 3, Montini gradually and steadily built its lead to 21-15 at halftime and 30-23 after three quarters.

Edwardsville got no closer than 31-25 in the fourth, and Pitts applied the dagger with a corner 3-pointer with 2:15 remaining for a 34-25 lead.

"Since they are so big when they double down it opens up shots for us," Pitts said of Montini's inside game.

Patty finished with 15 points and 6 rebounds, Jarosinski had 11 points and 8 boards and Pitts added 8 points.

Kate Martin led Edwardsville in scoring with 13 points.

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