The last game before the start of the winter break can be a tricky one to navigate. With most schools in the midsts of finals week and holiday tournaments just around the corner, teams can be prone to drop games they would otherwise win.
There were no such slip-ups for Montini though, as the third ranked Broncos comfortably defeated number 14 Mother McAuley, 59-30 to move to 14-1 overall and 2-0 in the GCAC.
From the opening tip, Montini’s game plan seemed to focus on containing Mother McAuley’s Tara O’Malley, a task made slightly easier due to McAuley’s Vanessa Gavin being out win an injury.
O’Malley did manage to find some space and hit a 3 on McAuley’s first offensive possession of the game to give the Mighty Macs a 3-2 lead, but from that point on, Montini did not let the senior point guard out of their sights.
“We lost her in transition that first possession, and we didn’t have our defense set,” Montini head coach Jason Nichols. “She was out main focus, especially with Gavin out which let’s be honest, made it a little bit easier. I thought we did a great job on her.”
Montini would proceed to go on a 22-0 run, not allowing McAuley to score from the opening minute of the first quarter to nearly midway through the second quarter with senior center Lindsey Jarosinski leading the way.
Despite leading by 20+ points for much of the contest, Montini made liberal use of their timeouts, including calling two early in the third quarter after mades baskets.
“We were still doing some things wrong that we emphasized during practice that I wanted to emphasize during timeout’s,” said Nichols. “That’s why I coach the whole game is for later in the year. We have a long way to go. We’re 14-1 but we are not playing like a 14-1 team.”
Even with coach Nichols frustrations, Montini still managed to take the game over a tough McAuley side by a 29 point margin.
Jarosinski led the way for the Broncos with 18 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks with Sam Mitchell adding seven points and seven boards. With a strong fourth quarter, O’Malley would lead Mother McAuley with 14 points, four steals and three rebounds.
Both Montini and Mother McAuley will next play in the Montini holiday tournament, which features the likes of Geneva, Nazareth, Proviso East and Benet, all state championship caliber teams.
“I’m not worried about going into our christmas tournament next week and winning the thing. I want to get better,” said Nichols. “The last two state champions, Geneva and Benet did not win our tournament but won the state title. I want to be them, I want to get better.