Thursday’s night’s contest between the Montini Lady Broncos (2-0) and the Stevenson Patriots (1-1) was an early season matchup between two of the top 20 teams in the area.
Through the first quarter, both teams traded blows and the Patriots kept it close to the third ranked team in the area. Unfortunately for Stevenson, Monitini’s size and defensive pressure proved too much as the game wore on and the Lady Broncos secured a 59-41 victory.
After a hot start from Stevenson, Montini coach Jason Nichols was assessed a technical foul while he was standing next to the official in front of his bench.
It’s hard to say that such a call was a turning point that early in the game, but Montini scored the next six points to take the lead all while reaching the bonus in the first quarter.
Despite the slow start, the beginning of the second quarter showed a glimpse of what the young Montini is capable of, as their defense pressure led to 7 turnovers in the quarter and their size helped contribute with 5 offensive rebounds as well.
Montini’s domination on the glass did not go unnoticed by coach Nichols: “We felt going in that we could have that advantage, and we did a really good job of that especially a couple of the girls who really got after it.”
Some of the standout performances that Nichols was referring to were sophomore Taylor Charles who grabbed 11 rebounds (5 offensive), and junior Taris Thornton who had 10 rebounds (6 offensive). Overall, a combination of the pressure and foul trouble limited Stevenson, as they scored only five points in the quarter and Montini took a 30-20 lead into halftime.
The third quarter saw much of the same as Montini’s quickness, size and overall athletic ability proved too much for the Patriots. Stevenson made a slight run in the third to cut the lead to seven at 37-30 but again the Montini quickness proved too much as they scored the final eight points of the quarter to take a 45-33 lead into the final frame.
There was not much to speak of in a fourth quarter that was extremely sloppy and marred by numerous fouls by both teams, but Montini coasted to the end for their 59-41 victory.
The Broncos were led by Charles with 16 points and 11 rebounds and Sophie Sullivan with 11 points. Simone Sawyer led Stevenson with 18 points and Ava Bardic chipped in 12.
Montini who starts three sophomores, a junior, and one senior is very young and is still learning the game. As coach Nichols clearly pointed out, “We got a long way to go, we have a lot of work to do.”
Stevenson gets right back to work on Friday at 6:00 PM vs. Lockport and Montini will face the home team Willowbrook at 7:30 PM.