Montini coach Jason Nichols admits that he has been junior point guard Kelsey Bogdan’s biggest critic through the years. Thursday, for at least one day, he became her biggest fan.
Bogdan scored a team-high 15 points and the Broncos were 12-of-12 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter – including Bogdan’s four-for-four effort – as the hosts defeated Fremd 59-51 in a quarterfinal of the Montini Christmas Tournament Thursday in Lombard.
Montini held Fremd to just 11 points in the fourth quarter and outscored the Vikings 11-4 after a three-pointer by Haley Gorecki got Fremd within 48-47 with 4:34 remaining in the game.
“We made a switch to (Kelly) Karlis in the middle of our zone,” Nichols said. “She started to rebound. She had five rebounds in the fourth quarter and a couple of key blocked shots. She became a presence, Claire (Jakaitis) and Rainey (Kuykendal) have been good all year for us. They just had a tough time today and she (Kelly) stepped up.
“But you know who was really outstanding for us?” he added. “Kelsey Bogdan was outstanding, and I have been her biggest critic. So I give her a thumbs up on that one. We told her that. But it is Christmas, the time of giving.”
Bogdan said all the pushing and prodding by her coach has made her a better player.
“Yeah, he’s definitely a tough coach,” she said. “A lot of it on the mental preparation side. The longer I’e been around this program the harder he’s gotten on me. It’s nice to see it actually pays off in the end … his toughness. He makes our team tough.”
Karlis added 13 points for Montini, Paulina Castro had seven and Sara Ross added six points. Gorecki led Fremd with 23 points and was the only Viking with more than seven points.
“We beat ourselves,” Fremd coach Dave Yates said. “Turning the ball over down the stretch, not finishing around the rim. It was a two-point game and we got it to a point where we needed to get a stop and execute on offense, and we did not do it tonight.
“We were encouraging our kids to get to the rim, and for whatever reason we stopped going to the basket and started shooting jumpshots,” he added. “I thought we did a really good job in first half of attacking the basket, and for whatever reason we decided to stop doing that.”