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Montini remains unbeaten, but there’s room for improvement

By Chris Fox

The Montini girls basketball team improved its 2016-17 record to 18-0 with Saturday’s 92-43 rout of Chicago’s Simeon Career Academy at Fremd High School’s Chicagoland Invitational Showcase in Palatine. The day’s event featured several games between elite teams from the Chicago area and beyond.
Saturday’s victory came hours after Montini escaped Byron with a narrow 56-52 victory. Byron, the reigning IHSA Class 2A state champion, rallied from a double-digit deficit in the second half to tie the score at 52-52. The Broncos, who struggled to make shots during the game, pulled out the victory with four points in the closing seconds.
The Broncos, who held a 36-25 halftime lead over Simeon, blew the game open in the third quarter, when they outscored the Wolverines 28-10. Montini sank six 3-point shots during the third quarter. Junior Ilysse Pitts made three long-range baskets during the period. She added a pair of two-point field goals during the quarter to tally 13 points for the quarter. Pitts, who received player-of-the-game honors from showcase officials, finished the contest with 20 points.
Montini senior Kaylee Bambule drained seven 3-point shots in the game to account for her team-high total of 21 points. Bambule made two 3-point shots in each of the first three quarters and added one 3-pointer in the final period. She accounted for half of the Broncos’ 14 successful 3-point shots during the game.
Junior Lindsey Jarosinski, who made five baskets and connected on six of seven free-throw attempts, provided 16 points. Sophomore Sam Mitchell, who made a pair of 3-point shots, added 12 points, while junior Aaliyah Patty scored eight points.
While pleased with the team’s offensive production against Simeon, Montini coach Jason Nichols said the Broncos need to improve their rebounding.
“We’re really disappointed with our effort on the defensive glass,” stated Nichols. “We’re just not rebounding the ball very well. That’s got to be a focus going forward. With some of the teams we have to beat in the state playoffs…if you don’t rebound against them, you’re in trouble.”
Instead of focusing on their season record, Nichols and the Broncos frequently talk about improving their performance to prepare for the upcoming IHSA Class 4A tournament. Montini’s pile of regular-season wins won’t mean much if the team doesn’t make a lengthy post-season run.
“It’s not being a Debbie Downer; it’s not being a Mr. Negative,” said Nichols of his scrutiny of the team’s needs for improvement. “It’s just about being realistic to what your goals are. If you have goals, you’ve got to look at some of those things that you’re doing wrong, so those goals can’t be crushed.”
“When two teams are pretty equal, it’s going to come down to little things—rebounding, defense, 50-50 balls,” added Nichols. “That’s what we focus on—a lot of the little things. We’ve just got to keep working and getting better.”
The Broncos struggled from 3-point range in Friday’s game at Byron, which was played in front of a sea of enthusiastic fans of the home team. Montini made eight of 36 shots from 3-point territory.
“There wasn’t a seat to be had,” said Nichols of the battle at Byron. “It was a great atmosphere. We just didn’t play very well. We had two 11-point leads in the second half. We got careless with the ball, and all of a sudden, they’re back in the game with 9-0 runs.”
Montini trailed the Tigers 20-19 at halftime but rallied to take a 40-34 lead by the end of the third quarters. Bambule, who made five 3-pointers in the game, sank three 3-point shots during the third period. Mitchell drained a pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter.
Bambule, who scored a trio of two-point field goals to accompany her five 3-point shots, poured in a team-high 21 points. Mitchell, who made all four of her free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter, added 12 points. Senior Claudia Kunzer provided nine points, while Pitts added seven points, five of which came in the fourth quarter. Pitts scored a driving basket in the closing seconds to break a 52-52 tie. Mitchell scored the final two points of the game by sinking two free throws with about 10 seconds to play.
The Broncos’ upcoming schedule includes this Friday’s home game against Loyola Academy, followed by a Jan. 16 contest at the Chicagoland Girls Prep Classic at Willowbrook High School. Montini will face an out-of-state team in the one-day event on Martin Luther King Day.

Rams’ conference record falls to 0-3 with loss to Bartlett

By Chris Fox
The Glenbard East girls basketball team lost its first game of the new year, falling 54-37 to Bartlett in Friday’s Upstate Eight Valley Conference game in Lombard. The loss gave the Rams an overall season record of 3-12 and a conference mark of 0-3.
The visiting Hawks took an early 11-0 lead over the Rams before Glenbard East junior Briana Raysby caught fire in the remainder of the first period. Raysby scored all 11 of the Rams’ first-quarter points with a pair of 3-point shots, a pair of 2-point field goals and one free throw. Bartlett held a 12-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Hawks led the Rams 22-20 at halftime.
Raysby sank a 3-point shot during the first minute of the third quarter to tie the score at 23-23. The Hawks then went on an 8-0 run in the next minute to take a 31-23 lead. A 3-point shot from junior Sam Dooley and an inside basket from senior Christina Dolinski cut the Hawks’ advantage to 31-28. Bartlett then went on a 10-2 run to build a 41-30 lead by the end of the third quarter. The Hawks pushed their lead to 51-30 by scoring the first 10 points of the fourth period.
Raysby scored a team-leading 19 points for the Rams. Junior Faith Davies added five points.
Glenbard East won one of five games at Riverside-Brookfield’s holiday tournament, which took place Dec. 26–30. The Rams opened the event with a 67-48 loss to Argo. They then dropped a 62-37 decision to York before suffering a 54-47 loss to Beecher. Glenbard East’s fourth game of the tournament resulted in a 57-53 double-overtime loss to Jones College Prep. The Rams closed out the event with a 52-26 victory over Hope Academy.
Raysby was the Rams’ leading scorer in all five tournament games. She made four 3-point shots and scored 26 points in the double-overtime loss to Jones College Prep. Raysby sank three 3-pointers and poured in 20 points in the victory over Hope Academy. Davies provided 12 points in the win, which completed a stretch of five games in five days. Dolinski added 10 points.
The Rams will play their next conference game this Saturday, when they will travel to West Chicago.

Glenbard East offers cheerleading clinic on Jan. 21; pre-registration ends Jan. 13

The Glenbard East High School cheerleading program will hold a “Little Rams Cheer Clinic” for young cheerleaders on Saturday, Jan. 21. The clinic, which is for children in kindergarten through eighth grade (ages 5–14), will take place at the school, which is located at 1014 S. Main Street, Lombard. Enter at Door No. 1. Participants who are in kindergarten through fifth grade should arrive at 1:30 p.m.; those in grades 6–8 should arrive at 3:15 p.m.
Each child taking part in the clinic should bring a snack and a water bottle. Wear athletic shoes, a T-shirt and gym shorts or sweatpants. Do not wear jewelry.
The clinic is for children of all abilities—from those who have never cheered before but would like to, as well as current cheerleaders who want to improve their skills. The Little Rams who take part in the clinic will learn a short dance, a cheer, jumps and stunts. They will also perform in the main gymnasium during halftime of a high school game.
The clinic will take place the day of Glenbard East’s “When Sides Collide” boys basketball event, which will feature four games.
The cheerleaders who take part in the clinic will perform during halftime of two of the games. The children in kindergarten through fifth grade will perform at approximately 4:30 p.m. (halftime of the contest scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.). The clinic’s participants in grades 6–8 will perform at about 6:15 (halftime of the game that will start at about 5:45 p.m.)
The cost is $30 per person for those who register by Friday, Jan. 13, and $40 afterward. The fee includes two adult admissions to one of the boys basketball games. Participants who register by Jan. 13 will receive a T-shirt
For more information, contact Glenbard East head cheerleading coach Kelly Dolan at 630-424-6700, or at Kelly_Dolan@glenbard.org.