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Montini Christmas Tourney: Opening Round

It’s officially here.

The Montini Christmas tournament is underway and we will keep you updated with everything going on in the opening round matchups.

We’ll be here all day so if you can’t make it out to Lombard today, feel free to keep up with the updates as they happen.

Lyons 47, #6 Fremd 42

Didn’t see anything but the end of this one but the first major upset of the tournament just happened to be in the very first game.

Fremd was up 20-12 at one point in the game, but went cold down the stretch getting outscored 35-18 en route to the eventual final score.

#16 Lake Forest 47, Nazareth 36

Lake Forest jumped out to a 10-0 lead and never looked back in their Montini tournament debut.

The Scouts were led early by the hot shooting of Molly Fisher, who started the game 4/4 from three point land and eventually ended the contest with 18 points, all on three pointers.

“Overall, we’re a very unselfish team and they were going to do everything to stop Halle [Douglass],” said Lake Forest head coach Kyle Wilhelm. “Halle embraces that double team, attacks gaps and found Molly, and when her feet are set she’s one of the best shooters around.”

After amassing a 20 point lead at the of three quarters mostly behind excellent team defense, Lake Forest took their foot off the gas just a bit but had enough of a cushion to withstand an 18 point quarter from Nazareth to win 47-36.

“You’re always a little nervous coming out after Christmas, but we came out with a lot of energy,” said Wilhelm. “Getting that first one underway is very important. It’s hard to play after having a day off but we now get to sleep a little bit, have our normal preparation and hopefully keep playing later and later.”

Hersey 59, Loyola 37

It was certainly a tough outing for the Ramblers, but credit Hersey for taking away their strengths and using every opportunity they were given to put points on the board.

The story of the first half was rebounding. Hersey dominated the offensive glass and those second chance opportunities were the reason they took a 31-22 lead going into the break.

The second half was more of the same as Hersey displayed a balanced scoring attack, while limiting Loyola’s Summer Parker-Hall’s touches in the post. When Parker-Hall did get an opportunity, there two defenders shadowing her the entire time.

There weren’t any huge individual performances from the Huskies, but that didn’t make their win any less impressive, Mary McGrath led the way with 17 points, with Katie Eidle adding 14 and five rebounds.

#1 Benet 75, OPRF 25

Well, there’s not much to say about this one. The number one team in the area played like the number one team in the area.

Subs were in by the third quarter but before that happened Brooke Schramek had 16 points. Molly Sheehan also added in nine points on three, three pointers for the Red Wings.

#2 Evanston 73, Batavia 34

Another running clock in this one.

Just like the number one team, number two on or list took care of business and should have some energy for their next game.

Evanston controlled the pace from the opening tip, speeding Batavia up and forcing turnovers which led to a plethora of run outs.

The Wildkits were extremely balanced on the offensive end. Rachele Olatunbosun led the team with 13 points, but Kayla Henning and Lola Lesmond added 12 a piece, Jayla Turchin had nine, and Ambrea Gentle finished with seven points and 10 rebounds.

Though the scoreline was not kind to Batavia, Erin Golden was very impressive. She had the majority of the ball handling duties against an aggressive Evanston defense, scored 10 points and pulled down eight rebounds.

#13 Bolingbrook 56, Lake Zurich 39

I don enjoy the way Lake Zurich plays. They were preseason top-20 last season and they’re certainly no slouch of a team this year, they just ran into a very talented Bolingbrook team who advances to the quarterfinals to face Evanston with a 56-39 win.

Bolingbrook play a throwback style of basketball which I appreciate as well. By my count they only attempted one three in the entire game which to be honest, is pretty refreshing.

The Raiders were led by Treasure Thompson (17 points), and Danyel Middleton (eight points, seven rebounds, and three assists), Middleton does just about everything for Bolingbrook and has one of the smoothest mid-range games I’ve seen at the high school level.

Lake Zurich trailed by double digits for most of the contest, but cut the deficit to just three points midway through the third quarter before Bolingbrook battled back.

I was also really impressed with Lake Zurich sophomore Alayna Soukup. She continued to get better as the game went on and finished with a team high 17 points. Ella Gilbertson chipped in with 12 of her own, with 11 of those coming in the first half.

#3 Montini 56, Huntley 26

The hosts improve their already impressive Christmas tournament resume with a 56-26 win over Huntley.

Montini now has an all time tournament record of 37-4 and will be looking for their seventh championship this year.

An impressive full court defensive effort gave Huntley fits. At times, the Red Raiders struggled to get the ball across half court.

On the offensive end, the Broncos were led by Sophie Sullivan, who finished the night with a game high 15 points.

Leading the scoring for Huntley was freshman Carley Faulkner. She is extremely raw right now, but she is going to be really, really, good down the road. The class of 2023 continues to impress and when it’s all said and done may be one fo the best from top to bottom in state history.

#14 Geneva 58, #15 York 49

Saved the best game of the opening round for last.

Lindsay Blackmore was dominant. Geneva found her early and often in the first quarter and she never once disappeared.

The senior finished with 29 points, and eight rebounds to pace the Vikings in an extremely tough game against a very good York team.

Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said: “I felt like Lindsay was reading the double team, and she just looked strong tonight. When she has that presence we have to take advantage of that.”

“My freshman and sophomore year I got to play with Margaret Whitley and all those kinds of players so I kind of saw that leadership that they gave off,” added Blackmore. “I think I display that pretty well as I’ve grown from a freshman to a senior now.”

Let’s talk about York for a second. I certainly had some questions about the Dukes entering this tournament. While their record was good, they haven’t played the schedule other teams in the top-20 have up until this point.

But boy, did they sure respond to the challenge. In only their second year in this tournament they took a veteran Geneva team to the brink. Good for them.

Nobody played exceptionally well on York, but everybody pitched in and played their part. Sydney Molis ended up leading the Dukes with 13 points in the end, but what really impressed me was the bench production as their next two leading scorers came off the bench in Bridget Lo and Megan Juneman.

Geneva will have a tall task tomorrow against Montini, especially when you consider they have less than a 24 hour turnaround and they are the only team in the quarterfinals who had to play their starters for the entirety of the game, but the Vikings will be ready.

“Our kids will be ready. They love this tournament they know what it means, they’re playing some of the best teams in Illinois so they get themselves ready,” said Meadows. “We’ll watch film and have a game plan tomorrow and see if we can execute it.”

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