2012 IL Girls 3A Championship: Montini 56, Vernon Hills 38

Posted on March 3, 2012. Filed under: Basketball | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

2012 Girls Class 3A Basketball Championship Game

Montini dominated in the Girls 3A State championship game against Vernon Hills, 56-38, and obtains back-to-back-back championships.

From the tip, the Broncos control the tempo of the game jumping out to a 16-3 lead. From here they were able to extend this lead at the half to 31-10 holding the Cougars to single digits in each early period.

I don’t believe Vernon Hills has seen a team like this season, and it showed, as the Broncos jumped out early and extended their lead to as much as 26 (52-26) in the fourth period.

Montini’s size, quickness and ability to control the boards proved that this young team, will be a force to be dealt with for seasons to come.
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Jasmine Lumpkin led the Broncos with 14 points, followed by Tianna Brown and Kateri Stone who both added 13.

Sophomore Sydney Smith went up for a layup to give Vernon Hills its first field goal of the Class 3A championship game 9 seconds into the third quarter. Before this field goal, they (Cougars) were on pace for one of the worst offensive performances in a state title game after shooting 0-for-15 from the field in the first half of their 56-38 loss to Montini.

“When we got to halftime we realized we needed to loosen up more,” Smith said. “We’re at state. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity maybe for everyone. We just had to pick it up. We came out with intensity.”

Smith led the team with 17 points.

“No one expected us to get this far,” Vernon Hills 6-foot-2 junior Meri Bennett-Swanson said. “Little Vernon Hills who had never won a regional before this year won a sectional, won a supersectional, is second in state. We couldn’t be happier.”

Bennett-Swanson recalled installing hand signals for the Cougars’ offenses and defenses at the beginning of the season and joking they would use them when they made it downstate for a noisy semifinal.

“It’s funny and ironic that the joke has come true,” Bennett-Swanson said.
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Montini celebrating their championship….                                       Vernon Hills captures second place in the state at 3A

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2012 IL Girls 3A Third Place Game: Hillcrest vs Springfield

Posted on March 3, 2012. Filed under: Basketball | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

2012 Girls Class 3A Basketball Third Place Game

March 3, 2012

For both teams, this consolation contest is a bit bitter sweet, as both teams, were very close to playing in the championship game later today. In the end, it was Hillcrest capturing third place in the Class 3A, 70-54, against Springfield.

“Today was a character check,” said coach John Maniatis after the game. “It would have been very easy to give up… each of these ladies put their heart on display today.”

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At the half, Springfield led Hillcrest 32-29. The Lady Hawks had the early lead through the first quarter until the final seconds of the period when senior guard Zahna Medley threw up a shot from half-court that was treated like a pass to teammate Mel Bremhorst, who was under the basket, and scored a short shot with ease. In addition, in the second quarter, the Senators out scored them 15-12 with lots of second chance shots.
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In the second half, Hillcrest stretched out to score 20 points to Springfields’ 8, to make the score 49-40, going into the final 8 minutes of play. During this period, Jahmia Phillips, Long Island University recruit, got hot where she scored 6 of the 20 points. She finished the game with 8 points.

“We had to step on the court and finish hard,” added Phillips.
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Seton Hall recruit, Shannise Heady, was her normal aggressive self today. She went 7-12 from the field, 5-7 from the charity stripe, and snagged 8 boards.

“I was able to play my game and I didn’t have to worry about fouls,” said after the game with her big smile.

During this time, the Senators went cold in fourth not scoring a basket for close to 3 minutes, which made the difference, as Hillcrest stretched out to a comfortable double-digit lead (16) and victory.

For the Lady Hawks, this is their first time leaving Redbird Arena with a victory and it marked the 101th win for all of the seniors.
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“I’m very proud of all 15 players, our coach staff and administrators… they all played a role in picking up each player.”

You can see Hillcrest receiving the third place IHSA Class 3A Girls trophy by clicking here.

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2012 IL Girls Semifinals: Hillcrest-Montini

Posted on March 1, 2012. Filed under: Basketball | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

2012 Girls Class 3A Basketball Semifinals

March 2, 2012

NORMAL – Montini (32-5) came back to knock off Hillcrest (27-4) 52-48 in the Class 3A semifinal game. In short, the Lady Hawks had the game in control with a 9 point lead, two of the Broncos starters on the bench, Nikia Edom and Sara Ross, both fouled out by the fourth period, and only 4 minutes to play, but a big three from downtown by Kaleri Stone gave them the momentum they needed.

Even though Stone struggled from behind the arc, going 0-for12, she got hot at the right time for team scoring two three-pointers, a key field goal with 1:27 left in regulation and four sets of free throws to secure the victory.

“Coach told us that if we are going to lose, ‘leave it on the floor’ and my shots fell towards the end of the game,” Stone shared with us after the game.

Stone and Edom led the team with 14 points followed by Tianna Brown, the only starting senior, who added 10.
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“We had a good come back down the stretch,” said coach Jason Nichols. “I was very emotional… but this (victory) for was for the kids….”

Hillcrest had their fair chances, including starting the game with as much as a 14 point lead in the first quarter, they weren’t able to maintain it. In addition, early foul trouble for Seton Hall recruit Shannise Heady iced her ability to get aggressive.
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“I tried to let my defense lead to offense in order to get the team going,” said Heady… She went on to echo what coach Maniatis said “we just didn’t take care of the ball. ”

For the most part, neither team shot well in the game. The Broncos shot 36.7% from the field, while Hillcrest shot 28.6%, but turnovers hurt both teams (48 total) from capitalizing.

“We faught very hard in this game and in fourth quarter, they capitalized on our turnovers,” said coach John Maniatis. “Our kids played hard on the floor in this heavyweight fight between two quality programs, but in the last 4 minutes, we needed to get to 52 pts and they (Montini) got to it before we did.”

Hillcrest were led by senior Jasmine Sanders who had 13, followed by Samirah Ali who added 12. The Hawks just seemed to let this one get away.

“It hurts,” add Maniatis as he left the press room.

This is a three-peat between Montini and Hillcrest in which the Hawks came up short in each of the past two state championship games and the semifinal game. Will today be different? Or will the Lady Broncos continue their winning ways? I believe the game spoke for itself and Montini advances to the Class 3A finals against Vernon Hills, as Hillcrest will face Springfield in the consolation game which will not be easy.
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Coach Nichols is trying his best to now focus on the championship game tomorrow against Vernon Hills – “they are playing good right now – with no fear. Meri (Bennet-Swanson) didn’t shoot well today but I’m certain tomorrow she’ll be ready. One game situation who knows… we’ll be ready”

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