Toni Romiti, she’s worth the price of admission.
“Seriously,” laughed her coach, Hinsdale South’s Jen Belmonte. “And we don’t even charge.”
Romiti scored 30 points Thursday night in Darien, lighting up No. 14 Willowbrook for seven 3-pointers in a Hornets 52-46 win that temporarily denied the Warriors a share of the West Suburban Gold title.
Few area players are as streaky, or can get as hot, as Hinsdale South’s senior guard.
That was evident Thursday.
Romiti came out and scored 10 points in the first quarter, then missed 5 straight shots and went to the bench with her second foul with 3:31 left in the half.
Then, in a span of 1:56 in the third quarter, Romiti hit Willowbrook with a barrage of four straight 3s, turning a 31-22 deficit into a 35-31 lead. They were deep, contested looks, one going for a 4-point play.
It didn’t matter.
“Sometimes it’s great, and sometimes it can be the worst thing for us,” Belmonte said. “When she’s feeling it, you can’t stop her. She’s a phenomenal shooter. You just have to ride it a little bit.”
Romiti was poked in the eye on the first 3 and had Willowbrook’s Molly Krawczykowski draped all over her on the third. That’s the kind of roll she’s on. Just two weeks ago, Romiti dropped 40 points and eight 3s on Proviso East.
“I just get into a zone, and I don’t even think about it,” Romiti said. “I don’t think about anything else, just that I need to score for my team. I’m just playing right now. I don’t know what’s going on.”
Romiti, one of the more emotional, colorful players in the area, is unlike any kid Belmonte’s coached in her young tenure.
“I don’t usually have to say anything specific to Toni,” Belmonte said. “She fires herself up.”
For all of Romiti’s efforts, Willowbrook (19-4, 9-1) still led 39-35 going into the fourth quarter, Angela Bruno’s runner capping an 8-0 run to end the third.
But the Warriors went without another field goal until 3:29 of the fourth, Romiti’s pullup 3 capping a 13-2 run to give Hinsdale South (12-7, 8-1) a 48-41 lead. Willowbrook didn’t help its cause at the free-throw line, making just 8 of 20 attempts, 3 of 12 in the second half.
“We got shots. We just didn’t make them,” Willowbrook coach Terry Harrell said. “And that’s been one of our strengths, is shooting the ball.”
MacKenzie Kern’s 3 gave Hinsdale South the lead for good at 40-39. Kern scored 13 points and hit three 3s for Hinsdale South, which made 11 while Willowbrook was 0 of 13 from distance. Despite graduating four starters, Hinsdale South is in contention to at least grab a share of its second straight Gold title.
“I’m going to be honest, I didn’t think we’d do this well,” said Romiti, the lone returning starter. “I love when my whole team is getting involved. I don’t like to be the only person scoring.”
Anita Sterling had 13 points and 12 rebounds, Colleen Krawczykowski 9 points and Molly Krawczykowski 8 points and 11 rebounds for Willowbrook, which could have sewn up a share of its first Gold title since 2002 with a win. The Warriors did get some good news Thursday, as they earned a No. 2 sectional seed.
“All of our goals are still ahead of us,” Harrell said. “We just have to go get them.”
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