Edit: Quick shoutout to Luke Hales, a junior at St. Ignatius for allowing me to use his photos. This is just a small sample of his stuff, to see more give him a follow on twitter, @LukeHales33 and on his Flickr account.
Montini’s 3rd quarter run finishes St. Ignatius
For about five minutes in the third quarter it looked as if an upset was brewing at the Hinsdale South Sectional. St. Ignatius had closed a 10 point halftime lead to one before Montini head coach Jason Nichols called a timeout with 2:41 to go.
Montini switched defenses to a full court press that rattled the Wolfpack and in turn, ended the quarter on a 9-0 before cruising their way into the Sectional final with a 54-39 victory.
“I thought we lost all momentum playing our regular defense,” said Montini head coach Jason Nichols. “Then we amped it up and they couldn’t get it across half court. I was excited that we were able to get it up to 10.”
Before extending their defense later in the game, Montini’s plan was to use their familiar matchup zone to neutralize St. Ignatius star Molly Gannon.
While The Lady Broncos didn’t meet Gannon quite at half court, they did extend it just a touch but the senior was still able to dial in three shots from long range.
On the offensive side of the ball, Montini were paced on opposite ends of the grade spectrum. Freshman Sophie Sullivan and senior Frankie Kokkines combined for 13 of Montini’s 17 second quarter points and the Lady Broncos saw their lead from just one point to 10 at the half.
After St. Ignatius made their run early in the second half, Montini’s defense held the Wolfpack scoreless for nearly almost eight minutes. Unable to score, Ignatius was forced to foul down the stretch, but Montini calmly knocked down their free throws to ice the game.
“Holding Molly Gannon to zero points in the second half was really, really big,” said Nichols on his teams second half defensive performance. “We gave up too many three pointers, seven is ridiculous but they were kind of playing that arc all day so they didn’t get a lot of two pointers too.”
Montini was led in scoring by Sullivan, who finished with 17 points.
Benet runs away from Whitney Young
The second semifinal matchup of the night featured the #3 seed Benet Academy Redwings take on the #2 seed Whitney Young Dolphins in a rematch from last year’s sectional semi-finals at Proviso West.
Benet completed the Public League final sweep, defeating Whitney Young 72-63 for the second year in a row, less than a week after defeating the other city power Simeon.
The tone of the game was set early by 5’8” senior point guard Clara Prasse. Like so many times before, Prasse drove straight to the rim against taller opponent and scored with a nifty finish off the glass. From that moment on, the Redwings never trailed in the contest.
Benet coach Joe Kilbride was thrilled with his team’s performance: “I thought our kids were very tough today, I thought the executed exactly what we wanted them to do. It was everybody, we got contributions across the board. I’m really proud of them.”
Despite never trailing, Benet were never quite able to break away from the Dolphins. After jumping out to a nine point lead in the first quarter, Whitney Young’s Kayla Green responded with a 12 points second quarter to cut the deficit down to three.
However, any adjustments that the Whitney squad tried to make to make were countered almost instantly by Benet.
As Prasse’s scoring pace slowed down, Kendall Holmes took over right where Prasse left off. Holmes scored 10 of her game high 25 points in the third quarter while Benet as a team scored 21 in the frame to see their the grow to 56-48.
Benet kept it rolling to start the fourth quarter by scoring the first eight points, but it was Green who yet again responded with her own offensive outburst of nine points in a single minute.
Unfortunately for the Dolphins, the rally came much too late as Benet’s lead was large enough to withstand the run with some room to spare.
Whitney Young’s Green would finish leading all scorer with 27 points while Benet had tremendous balance in Holmes with 24, Brooke Schramek with 15, and Prasse with 12.
In an eerie set of circumstances, Tuesday’s games mirrored Monday night’s sectional semi-finals at Evanston.
The two winners set up a rematch from last years sectional championship, one that saw Montini roll to a 21 point victory, a matchup Coach Kilbride is looking forward to.
“I told them I like our chances against anybody. I’m really pleased how they have come together at the right time.”
While the makeup of the two teams is completely different from last season, it should provide an excellent matchup due to the familiarity and quality between the two teams.
Tip-off is set for Thursday at 7:00 PM at Hinsdale South High School.