Montini outlasts Naperville North
Montini said it never took Naperville North lightly, not even for a minute.
The Huskies gave undefeated and state-ranked Montini all it could handle before the Broncos found a little breathing room in the final 80 seconds of a 48-41 nonconference girls basketball victory in Lombard.
"I think we expected them the exact same way as they came out and as we came out," Montini senior Sydney Prochaska said. "We were just making sure that we came out hard and strong."
"Hey, everybody who thinks we're supposed to blow that team out ... no, we're not," said Montini coach Jason Nichols, adding his team needs to practice better to get to the next level. "If we ever put it together in practice, watch the heck out. Because we have a chance to be special."
Defense is what makes Montini go (14-0), and the Huskies (7-3) struggled at times to break the Broncos' stifling press. Montini forced 23 turnovers from Naperville North, 10 of them in the second quarter when they held the Huskies to two free throws and 0-of-4 shooting from the floor.
Still, the Huskies managed to score more against Montini than any team this season except defending Class 4A champion Maine West, which also scored 41.
"I'm really proud of them -- minus our second quarter," Huskies coach Erin Colletti said. " ... I'm proud of how we've grown. I can only applaud that we continue to get better and maintain composure, right? Cool, calm, collected instead of playing chaotic.
"But we had those moments. But less moments than we have had in the past. So we're getting better. And so I'm really proud of the girls that they never gave up, continued to fight, played together, continued to communicate to the very end. It was a good game. They're a very talented team."
In a game with six lead changes, Naperville North's Greta Kampschroeder forged a 41-41 tie with basket midway through the fourth quarter. But Montini's defense stiffened again, the Broncos hit their free throws, and Angelina Giordano added a 3-pointer with 1:20 to play to make it 46-41.
Tatiana Thomas led the Broncos with 14 points and 9 rebounds, Prochaska made three 3-pointers and totaled 13 points, and Giordano made three 3s for 9 points.
"I was very proud of Sydney," Nichols said of the SIU recruit. "I thought Tatiana was a beast. I thought Angie Giordano, who has been struggling mightily, had some major mental toughness to hit two big 3s late.
"Those are kids I'll go into a bunker hole any day of the week with, because if they're going to fight and crawl and if you get in their butts and you challenge them hard, they respond. And I love that."
Kampschroeder's 13 points led the Huskies.