Girls Basketball: Montini escapes Hinsdale South
Updated: December 28, 2011 3:23PM
Montini is a young, talented basketball team in need of a vocal floor general.
The No. 11 Broncos watched a 29-15 lead after three quarters melt to a single point with 1.2 seconds remaining, but Hinsdale South could not connect on a desperation three-pointer from beyond half-court as the Broncos held on for a 35-34 win Tuesday at the Montini Christmas Tournament in Lombard.
Montini (14-3) built a 23-9 halftime lead by holding Hinsdale South scoreless in the second quarter. The Broncos still led 31-17 with 6:32 remaining in the game when the wheels started to come off for the hosts.
Hinsdale South outscored Montini 12-1 over the final 3:44, aided in part by the Broncos’ 1-of-7 free-throw shooting and what Montini coach Jason Nichols lamented as a lack of somebody to take charge in tight situations.
“We don’t have anybody right now taking charge, stepping up and being leaders,” Nichols said. “This is a very quiet bunch of soft-spoken kids, and you can’t play the game like that. I like our kids, they’re very nice kids, great kids. But somebody’s got to step up.”
Natalie Tomerlin’s short jumper in the lane and Toni Romiti’s three-pointer from the wing got the Hornets within 34-27 with 3:00 remaining. Tomerlin scored again from just inside the key and from the right baseline to trim the deficit to 34-31 with 38 seconds left.
Montini missed two one-and-one free-throw opportunities sandwiched around a Jasmine Lumpkin make, and Andrea McNally buried a three-pointer from the key with 4.9 seconds left to pull Hinsdale South within 35-34.
But a holiday miracle was not in the cards for Hinsdale South.
“Take that second quarter out and we won the game,” Hinsdale South coach Jen Belmonte said. “Take some of those fouls away that (center) Uzo (Okoro) had basically helping on our guards mistakes and it’s a completely different game.
“The only disappointment I had was the second quarter and that the guards had to have that much help from our best player in the post,” the coach added. “That’s the way the cookie crumbles.”
Tomerlin led Hinsdale South with 10 points and Okroro, who eventually fouled out, added eight points. Tianna Brown scored eight points for Montini and Malayna Johnson added eight.
“We just stopped playing in the second half,” Nichols said. “We became very inefficient. Our free-throw shooting is killing us. Against Hononegah, it cost us the game, and against Geneva earlier in the year. Tonight, we were 2 of 8 in the fourth quarter.
“Instead of putting the game away, now it becomes very tight and you have to execute and we’re just not right now,” he added. “We had that game totally in control. We don’t have the mentality yet that we want to close games.”