Montini tops Neuqua Valley in defensive struggle

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If you went to Hinsdale South Tuesday expecting to see some offensive fireworks between Montini and Neuqua Valley, you went to the wrong place.

The two teams combined for just 60 points. Neuqua Valley limited 3-point happy Montini to just a pair of 3-pointers. Montini kept Neuqua Valley off the scoreboard for 10:26 before Myia Starks cashed in a free throw.

When it was over, the Broncos had a little more offense than the Wildcats, winning 41-19. Six-foot-5 freshman Lindsey Jarosinski led Montini (4-0) with 10 points and eight rebounds. Tiara Wallace and Kaylee Bambule each added six points. Bambule owned both of Montini’s 3-pointers.

Both coaches came away happy with their defense.

“I knew his (Neuqua Valley coach Mike Williams) matchup zone would give us fits,” Montini coach Jason Nichols said. “Do you run your man stuff? Do you run your zone stuff? His defense gave us fits, but I thought we were inefficient at times with it. I thought we had opportunities.

“I thought we did a great job defensively. I thought our kids were really, really good. You hold a team like that with that much firepower to 19 points, that’s a pretty gosh darn good job. I thought we needed a little bit of a test. They’re a good test, and I thought we answered it pretty well today.

Montini led 18-1 before Bryce Menendez made Neuqua Valley’s first basket with 2:34 remaining in the first half. But considering the Wildcats’ offensive woes – they were two of their first 25 from the floor – it could have been a lot worse.

“It’s just our third game, and it wasn’t like we were just chucking up shots,” Williams said. “They were good shots. It was a great defensive battle. Our defense was pretty good, we just couldn’t make a basket. Maybe because it’s the type of game, maybe because it’s against Montini.

“We know somewhere down the line we’re going to see the Whitney Youngs, the other great teams. We need to have challenges. The challenge tonight was to play great defense. I thought we did. But we couldn’t make any shots. But we’re going to be fine. It will be all right.”

Kai Moon led Neuqua Valley (2-1) with seven points. Menendez added six points and six rebounds, and Starks added three points. Rainey Kuykendall added five points for Montini.

“We told our girls that some days as a shooter it’s not going to be your day,” Nichols said. “But we have girls like Tiara (Wallace) and Kelsey Bogdan that went to the basket and made dumps to Jarosinski and Rainey, and they did a good job.

“I think we have a lot of weapons. Again, I think the biggest thing for us is playing good teams and getting experience, because that’s what it’s about.”

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