No matter how the Montini girls basketball roster might change, the results remain the same.
With Thursday’s 60-51 victory against Walther Lutheran in Melrose Park, Montini (27-1) clinched its 10th consecutive conference championship, completing a 10-0 run through the Suburban Christian Conference Blue Division. Since the 2003-04 season Montini is 111-3 in conference play.
“We’ve been pretty darn good,” Montini coach Jason Nichols said. “We’ve been consistent.”
Nichols hasn’t been happy with his team’s play lately, however.
“We’re winning games, but right now we’re just not doing it very well,” he said. “In the three games since Whitney Young and our four or five practices, we’re just disinterested, and it’s leading to bad games on the floor. We’d better wake up or it’s going to be an early exit in the postseason.”
“I felt that we could’ve played a lot better,” 6-foot-1 sophomore Rainey Kuykendall added, “but it’s good to get the win overall.”
A 13-0 run from the end of the first quarter and into the second gave Montini a 25-11 lead with 4:36 to play in the second after Dana Turner’s free throw ended the streak, and the lead peaked at 19 points.
But Turner hit three 3-pointers the remainder of the period to help Walther Lutheran (20-6, 8-2) pull to within 9 points at halftime. Walther Lutheran never got closer than 7, when Anna Strong’s steal and layup cut the Montini lead to 57-50 with 1:17 to play in the game.
Kuykendall came off the bench to lead Montini with 18 points, 14 rebounds, 6 blocks and a good idea.
“It was the first time I ever listened to her in her life,” Nichols said. “She asked if she could play the post a little bit more. I said all right, we’ll put you down there, and look what happened.”
“Since middle school I played in the post, and when I got to Montini I went to guard,” Kuykendall said. “I’m just more comfortable with it.”
Kateri Stone added 13 points and Sara Ross had 11 for Montini.
Turner finished with 16 points for Walther Lutheran before fouling out. Isimeme Edeko added 11 points and 17 rebounds.
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