Montini hands Kankakee its first loss
Between the emotions of the day and the disruption to the pregame routine, Senior Night often leads to a letdown by the home team.
Kankakee had no such luck Saturday at Montini. Broncos seniors Frankie Kokkines and Zoe MacKay Zacker saw to that.
Kokkines and MacKay Zacker started a trend when they combined to make the Broncos' first three 3-point shots, and Montini led from start to finish. Kankakee, the top-ranked team in Class 3A, suffered its first loss of the season, 65-52 in a nonconference girls basketball game in Lombard.
"I think we definitely had to differentiate between celebration and game," MacKay Zacker said.
"The game came first and then celebration after the game right now," Kokkines added.
"We're having it right now," MacKay Zacker said, picking up where her teammate left off. "It's going to be fun. I mean there's probably going to be a few tears. That's going to be a lot of fun."
"But definitely the game was our main priority, was focusing on this game, nothing else really," Kokkines said, finishing her classmate's thought like a good teammate. "Senior Night was a bonus for us."
Behind the two seniors -- the injured Sam Mitchell and Taia Reed also were honored pre- and postgame -- Montini jumped out to a 9-2 lead. By halftime it was 37-19, and the Montini lead reached 26 points in the third quarter.
"Basically we lost that game in the first quarter," said Kankakee coach John Maniatis, whose team outscored Montini 17-9 in the fourth.
The Broncos (27-4), ranked sixth in Class 4A, shot like the No. 1 sectional seed they are, making 14 of 29 3-pointers and 21 of 46 shots overall despite tailing off significantly in the fourth quarter. A pair of freshmen led the way; point guard Sophie Sullivan hit five 3s and Angelina Giordano made 3.
"Coach (Jason) Nichols has a state-of-the-art team and stuff as far as the matchups for us on our 1-3-1, having those corner shooters," Maniatis said. "I thought the Sullivan girl, (uniform) No. 1, I thought she did a tremendous job handling the point for them today and stuff. We couldn't get her off her swivel. She was able to orchestrate their offense and knock down some big shots early."
Sullivan finished with a game-best 21 points, ending the regular season with 80 made 3-pointers.
"She always amazes me," Kokkines said. "She does unbelievable things, and she's only a freshman. It's crazy, the potential she has."
Junior Sydney Prochaska scored 12, and Kokkines and Giordano added 10 apiece. MacKay Zacker finished with 6 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.
Amani Williams scored 20 and Tabetha Jones 18 to lead Kankakee (30-1).
"At the end of the day," Kokkines added, "who doesn't want to beat the No. 1, undefeated team in 3A? So that was a big thing for us, kind of like motivation-wise. We beat (Mother) McAuley earlier in the year when they were undefeated, and we were like, Why don't we do it again?"