High school sports dynasties: Girls No. 5, Montini basketball
Editor's note: The Daily Herald is counting down the Top 10 boys and girls high school sports dynasties over the past 20 years, two at a time. We continue today start today at No. 5 with Montini girls basketball and York boys cross country.
What makes Montini one of the most respected girls basketball programs in Illinois?
The current streak of 11 seasons with 30 or more wins is a big part of it. That's come against a schedule that includes many of the best teams around the state and a few from outside Illinois.
Certainly the four state championships among the 10 trips downstate are eye-catching, including the Class 3A third-place trophy the Broncos won in March.
Then there's the attention-getting 15 sectional championships, including a streak of 14 straight.
Since coach Jason Nichols took over for the 2003-04 season, Montini has gone 521-72. The Broncos are 171-3 in conference play.
In fact Montini isn't just a local girls basketball dynasty but one of the top Illinois high school sports dynasties of this century.
"It was never about winning state," Nichols said. "It was always about getting to state, because once you're down there anything can happen. It's like going into the ocean with a terrible rip current. You don't know what's going to happen. There's times you're expected to win and you don't win. There's times you're not expected to win and you do win."
The key, of course, was the players. Year after year Montini has attracted talented players. Since 2006, 29 players have gone on to play Division I basketball.
"When you have good kids, you're going to end up with good results," Nichols said.
While Nichols reminisces about many of his teams, one seems to stand out: the 2011 team that won the program's second of three straight state championships.
"That 2011 team was awesome," Nichols said of the squad led by Notre Dame recruit Whitney Holloway. "Our guard play was so good. and then you had Whitney Adams, who was just a big power forward that could shoot the 3. That team was incredible."