The Montini Holiday Tournament quarterfinals certainly lived up to it’s billing.
Featuring four marquee games with all eight teams currently in the top-20 fans got a little bit of everything, including a triple overtime thriller that saw Fremd knock off Benet.
The first game of the eventing session, featured two time defending 4A champion Geneva and undefeated Mother McAuley.
Geneva hung with the third ranked Mighty Macs through the early portion of the game, but Grace Hynes (21 points, 13 rebounds) and the stingy McAuley defense pulled away from Geneva in the second half for the 48-44 win.
The Mighty Macs will face off against the hosts Montini, who showed flashes of tremendous talent that overcame most of the freshman mistakes for a 61-39 win over Marist.
Montini’s zone gave Marist fits, as the Red Hawks struggled to get into the lane and shoot over the top of the zone.
Sydney Affolter was able to get going in the high post towards the end of the first half, but her game high 19 points was unable to produce enough to overcome the early deficit against a balanced Montini attack that saw six players score at least 8 points.
While Marist may have struggled to score in their game, defense was optional in the third quarterfinal matchup between Nazareth and Evanston.
The Roadrunners made it to the semifinals with a 74-66 win behind Annie Stritzel’s 30 points, and Kaylen Evans 19.
Evanston gave Nazareth all they could handle, erasing a seven point deficit at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but faded down the stretch as Stritzel was able to get to the basket at will.
If it’s any comfort for Evanston, Kayla Henning had her best game of the season and finally looked close to 100% leading the Wildkits with 19 points.
Henning is a vital piece for Evanston’s post season aspirations, and having her healthy and in game shape is potentially a good sign of things to come.
Although each game had a little something for everyone, nothing compared to Thursday’s finale which saw Fremd knock off Benet in triple-overtime by the score of 59-54.
Fremd held the lead for most of the contest until a furious fourth quarter comeback led by Clara Prasse (17 points, five assists) gave Benet a three points lead with three seconds remaining.
The proceeding three seconds and three overtimes could only be described as sectional-like, as Grace LeBarge drilled a 30 footer as time expired to send the game into it’s first overtime.
Benet’s Kendall Holmes, and Fremd’s Olivia Hill did most of the damage for their respective teams during the extra frames.
Holmes hit clutch three, after clutch three, but Fremd seemed to come back with a response almost instantaneously.
The Vikings had multiple chances to put away the contest in the first two overtimes, but poor free throw shooting down the stretch gave Benet new life.
Fremd were finally able to put away the marathon game in the third overtime. After another Holmes triple but Benet up to start the third frame, Fremd quickly regained the lead and held on with late free throws to close the game out.
The four winners will move onto the semifinals of the prestigious tournament. Top-seeded McAuley will get the hosts Montini. While Fremd will rest up as quick as they can to face off against Nazareth.