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Girls Basketball: Montini tops Joliet Catholic 57-44 in Class 3A state title game

Joliet Catholic's Nicole Ekhomu (12) tries get shot past Montini's Kateri Stone (24) during third quarter Saturday's IHSA girl's Class

Joliet Catholic's Nicole Ekhomu (12) tries to get a shot past Montini's Kateri Stone (24) during the third quarter of Saturday's IHSA girl's Class 3A championship game at Illinois State's Redbird Arena in Normal, Ill., March 8, 2014. Montini won the game, 57-44. | Brian O'Mahoney/For Sun-Times Media

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Class 3a

(at Redbird Arena, Normal)

Championship
Montini 57, Joliet Catholic 44

Third place
Quincy Notre Dame 64,
Burlington Central 40

Semifinals

Montini 34,
Burlington Central 26

Joliet Catholic 70,
Quincy Notre Dame 59

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Updated: April 10, 2014 6:57AM



Sometimes, it’s just a matter of timing.

On Friday, Montini was just 3-of-19 from three-point range and had to scrape and claw its way past Burlington Central.

On Saturday, the Broncos were three-mendous in their 57-44 Class 3A title game win over Joliet Catholic, nailing 11-of-20.

For the Angels, one of the best three-point shooting teams in the state, it was like swallowing their own poison.

“Our team has gotten hot like that,” Jasmine Lumpkin said. “When you’re hot like that and you can’t miss, you just can’t miss. We did switch defenses a couple of times, but they were just hitting their shots, dead on.

“You can’t do anything about it. But I think we played hard.”

Nicole Ekhomu topped the Angels (28-3) with 14 points, while Lumpkin added 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Montini (34-2) used the three-point artistry of Kelly Karlis (16 points), Lea Kerstein (13) and Kateri Stone (12) to claim its fourth state title.

It was a game that could have gotten away much earlier than it did, but Joliet Catholic fought the good battle.

The Angels trailed much of the first quarter, but produced some three-point magic of their own when Jnaya Walker drained a shot as time expired to give them their final lead of the game at 13-12.

A few seconds into the second quarter, Karlis responded for Montini with a trey, starting a pattern that seemingly would repeat itself over and over:

Montini builds a lead. Joliet Catholic rallies. Broncos hit a three ... or two ... or three.

After Ekhomu swished a three for the Angels with a handful of seconds left in the half to cut a six-point deficit to 25-23, Kerstein let fly a nearly halfcourt shot that went in as the buzzer sounded.

After Ekhomu led a furious third-quarter rally in which Joliet Catholic, down 34-23, scored nine points in a row, Kayle Bambule and Karlis went to the same left corner twice in a row and nailed threes for Montini.

Joliet Catholic, trailing 40-32, got a basket by Lumpkin early in the fourth. Stone hit a three for Montini. Mia Farrell scored a two for the Angels. Stone swished two more threes for the Broncos.

Ironically, Montini finished the game with just one more basket than Joliet Catholic. Long-distance dialing made the difference.

“(Saturday) they came ready,” Lumpkin said. “They were the hotter team. They are disciplined, but I feel we could have played with them. It got away from us a little bit with that shooting. But it could have gone both ways.”



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