Montini forward Rainey Kuykendall was more than a little familiar with her team’s opponent on Monday.
The 6-1 junior has played on the same club team with most of the Bolingbrook players and it showed in how she played.
Kuykendall scored 10 points, grabbed four offensive rebounds and had a career-high nine blocks as Montini opened up a big early lead and rolled to a 56-40 victory at the McDonald’s Shootout at Willowbrook.
“She grew up playing with a lot of those kids,” Montini coach Jason Nichols said. “I kind of figured Rainey would be inspired to play them, but Rainey’s had a really good year.
“She’s our third-leading scorer behind [Kateri] Stone and Kelly [Karlis]. The reason she’s having a good year is she’s matured, she’s grown up a little bit and that’s what happens when you get a little older.”
Bolingbrook (10-4) is not a good shooting team, but Kuykendall made the Raiders seem worse than they are by consistently being in position to reject shots on either side of the paint. She anchored a solid defensive effort by the Broncos, who combined for 12 blocks in holding the Raiders to 13-for-49 shooting.
“Basically I played AAU with all of them,” Kuykendall said. “I’ve known them since sixth grade. Actually, I wasn’t even thinking about [how that would be an advantage] but it kind of helped knowing how they play.”
Before Kuykendall started her shot-blocking display, the Broncos hit the Raiders with an opening 11-1 run, coming up with seven steals in forcing nine turnovers in the first quarter.
A three-pointer by Stone gave Montini an 18-3 cushion early in the second quarter and the Broncos extended the lead to 42-19 late in the third quarter as the Raiders had no answer for the trio of Kuykendall, Stone and senior Sara Ross. Stone had 13 points, nine rebounds and three steals and Ross was a force at both ends with 10 points, 11 rebounds, five steals and four assists.
“We weren’t mentally prepared to play and we weren’t disciplined enough,” Bolingbrook coach Chris Smith said. “Against a team like Montini you’ve got to come out disciplined and prepared to play, and we didn’t do it. That turned out to be the difference in the game.”
Though the outcome was decided early, the game was closer than it felt as the Raiders kept it respectable, cutting the gap to 48-36 when Daija Hurks made two free throws with 4:28 left in the fourth quarter before Montini scored the next eight points.
Nichols wasn’t happy that his team lost focus.
“What’s kind of discouraging is we came out looking like who we are, but we have a tendency to get complacent,” Nichols said. “We just kind of go through the motions, and we saw that happen [today]. That will get you knocked out of the playoffs in a hurry.”
The Broncos, who were stunned by Vernon Hills in the Class 3A state semifinals last season, are aware of that.
“It’s hard because once we got the lead it’s like, alright, we can slow down,” Kuykendall said. “But you can’t, especially with teams like Bolingbrook. They can pick up their pressure any time and come back and that’s what they did.”
Aysia Bugg led Bolingbrook with 15 points and five steals but no other Raider scored more than five points.