Well that was quite a day. Left the house at 1:30 and didn’t get back until 11:00. The second days play featured six teams in our top-20, including four of the top six teams.
The first semifinal is scheduled to tip-off at 6:30, where third ranked Montini will have to face a reenergized Mother McAuley with number one Geneva and number six Proviso East facing off directly after.
But before tomorrows action kicks off, let’s see how each of these teams got to this point.
No. 3 Montini 58 def. No. 10 Marist 40
Although it wasn’t always pretty, Montini led wire to wire against a young but talented Marist team.
The Broncos jumped out to a 12-2 lead thanks to Aaliyah Patty’s (16 points) inside out game and although they struggled at times, they were never really in any danger of losing the game.
Marist tried to make the game interesting in the third quarter after captializing on a few Montini turnovers and a good second half shooting performance from Abby Callahan (21 pts.), but the Redhawks were never able to cut the Broncos lead to single digits, as Montini would run away with it in the end.
Mother McAuley 59 def. No. 4 Nazareth 55
In what was by far the best game of the session, Mother McAuley pulled off the slight upset over No. 4 Nazareth.
McAuley put together a scrappy performance, behind a box and one game plan designed to stop Nazareth’s Annie Stritzel (12 pts).
The Mighty Macs were led out of the gate by Jenna Badali who had 12 first quarter points. Nazareth would fight back behind Alyssa Geary’s extremely efficient second quarter (12 pts), but McAuley always seemed to respond with a Tara O’Malley three pointer.
Both teams were unable to pull away in the third quarter but McAuley jumped on Nazareth with a 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter. Nazareth would fight their way back yet again, but a frustrated Stritzel couldn’t push the Roadrunners over the edge despite abysmal free throw shooting down the stretch.
Grace Hynes played a pivotal role for the Mighty Macs, claiming a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds while seemingly grabbing every loose ball available.
No. 6 Proviso East 61 def. Hersey 57
Proviso East held avoided another Hersey upset bid as the Huskies rallied late in the contest after being down as many as 13 points.
The Pirates used their speed and athleticism to blow by Hersey in the first quarter to take a 10 point lead, though it really could have been more.
Proviso East maintained that lead heading into the fourth quarter until turnover issues let Hersey back into the game. The Huskies cut the deficit all the way down to just one point with 1:39 remaining in the game, but Proviso East managed to hang on by forcing turnovers of the own to go along with clutch throw shooting.
Dee Brown finished the game with 21 points for Proviso East and went 6/6 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter. Erin McGrath also finished with 21 points for Hersey.
No. 1 Geneva 55 def. No. 12 Marian 26
It was a near perfect performance for the defending state champs as they shot Marian out of the gym.
Throughout the first half, it looked as though Geneva was never going to miss a three as 24 of their 24 first half points came via the long ball.
If there was one negative about Geneva’s performance, it was that the Vikings struggled offensively in the third quarter when their shooters went cold, but their defensive intensity didn’t allow Marian to gain any ground.
“I thought we had too many turnovers in the beginning of that third quarter. We responded a bit after I called a timeout but we can’t come out flat and we have to finish,” said Geneva head coach Sarah Meadows. “Other than that our shots looked good, we took care of the ball besides the third quarter and our offense looked good tonight.”
Geneva would find their shooting touch again in the fourth quarter as they look to be in great position to make it to the finals of the Montini tournament after getting bounced in the semifinals of the tourney last year.
Meadows said: “Our girls are gamers. They love this tournament, we love this tournament and they know that every game is competitive and important, and they bring it everyday. Winning this was one of our goals this year so we’ll see where we end up.”
Geneva were paced in scoring by Stephanie Hart with 17 points and Margaret Whitley with 14.