Montini breezes past Batavia
Montini set the pace, and Batavia simply couldn't keep up.
The No. 2-ranked Broncos jumped on the Bulldogs in the first few minutes of Thursday's Montini Christmas Tournament quarterfinal game, got the lead to 20 by halftime and coasted home to a 66-42 win.
Montini's pressure seemed to unsettle Batavia from the start. A Kelly Karlis basket off a Kelsey Bogdan steal and a Bogdan steal and score gave the Broncos a 7-0 lead less than 90 seconds in. Karlis later scored off another turnover to make it 15-5 midway through the quarter.
At every Batavia missed basket or turnover, Montini coach Jason Nichols directed his kids to push tempo. It's easy to see why. Batavia barely goes eight deep, while Montini (16-1) substitutes liberally.
"For 32 minutes we wanted to run run, push push, and eventually we thought we'd be able to wear them down," Nichols said. "We did some good things offensively. Malayna (Johnson) was active early, (Kateri) Stone did some good things, (Sara) Ross attacked the basket, Karlis was steady. It was some good stuff."
Another Bogdan steal and score and a Stone 3-pointer pushed the margin to 27-8 by midway through the second quarter.
Stone, who hit seven 3s in a win Wednesday over St. Francis de Sales, dialed long distance four times Thursday for 18 points. Johnson scored 9 of her 11 in the first half and Karlis 5 of her 7. Stone said that pace was a point of emphasis.
"That was the main thing," Stone said, "was that they only play seven or eight kids and to push them early and get them tired. I thought we did a good job of that."
Batavia (11-6) probably needed a big game from star junior Liza Fruendt to keep within striking distance, but it wasn't Fruendt's day.
Averaging nearly 20 points a game, Fruendt scored 20 on Wednesday in a first-round win over Bogan. But against Montini she missed her first 8 shot attempts and finished with 5 points. Montini and its lengthy perimeter defense clearly had Fruendt tagged.
"We knew where she was," Nichols said, "I thought we did a great job defensively."
"It was a tough game for her," Batavia coach Kevin Jensen said. "A team can focus on her a little bit more when we can't get the ball inside, and we didn't do a real good job of that early in the game."
Hannah Frazier and Sami Villarreal scored 11 apoints apiece for Batavia. The Bulldogs are getting there, but recent losses to ranked teams like Neuqua Valley and Montini reinforce that there's still room to go.
"To beat the top teams we're going to have to maintain our good play for 32 minutes," Jensen said. "We can't just have it in flashes of three minutes here or three minutes there. We got to make that next step, and this tournament is hopefully going to prepare us for that."
Montini, meanwhile, moves on to an interesting semifinal matchup with Plainfield East, a 54-53 winner over Romeoville Thursday. Unbeaten Plainfield East features senior Nikia Edom, a starter on Montini's state championship team last year before transferring. Edom scored 20 points Thursday, her team winning on a Gabrielle Williams basket as time expired after a controversial traveling call on Romeoville.
"We had good times, and she's a very good player," Stone said. "It should be a good game."
Follow Josh on Twitter @jwelge96
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