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Montini has made a habit of blowing teams off the court in the first quarter this season and the Broncos were at it again Thursday in Lombard.
Montini’s 57-24 Suburban Christian Conference victory over visiting Rosary was decided in the first quarter, which ended with the Broncos ahead 22-0.
It was the second time the Broncos (8-0, 3-0) have shut out a conference opponent in the opening quarter. A third team managed only two points.
“We’ve been getting off to quick starts all year against everybody, not just this particular team,” Montini coach Jason Nichols said. “I just think they’re very focused when they come in the game, but I think we lose a little bit of that for some reason throughout the course of the game. I don’t know what it is, but we’ve got to get better.”
Nichols got no argument from his players, who despite the great first period were not thrilled with the evenly played final three stanzas.
Montini center Malayna Johnson, a 6-4 senior, was a human windshield wiper, blocking a career-high eight shots to go with 10 rebounds. She also scored a team-high 10 points despite not attempting a shot in the second half.
“I think I can do better,” Johnson said. “I was fine in the first quarter until I started missing a lot of layups and then the second half I think we should have done better.”
But the first quarter was a showcase of how dominant Montini can be. Seven different players had points and steals in the period, with junior guard Kateri Stone scoring all seven of her points.
“I think it’s that we’re just focused and in practice we try to get our minds together before the game,” Johnson said. “Then when we come out to play we’re ready to go.”
This didn’t come as a surprise to Rosary (5-6, 2-2), which made only 1-of-29 shots in the first half, 10 of which were blocked.
“That’s how they start every quarter,” Rosary coach Jessie Wilcox said. “They really come out and they put you away. We knew that coming in and I thought actually we did a pretty good job weathering the storm because it was five minutes in and it was still 6-0.
“For a while, we kept them under where our goal was but we just couldn’t make anything. Your defense can only hold off so much. If your offense is non-existent, you’re not going to get much in return.”
The Royals scored the first four points of the second quarter, holding the Broncos scoreless for over four minutes, but Johnson scored the next six points for Montini to trigger a 15-2 run to close the half.
Eleven players scored for the Broncos, with freshman Emily Cochrane coming off the bench to tally nine points, three assists and two steals. Sara Ross added seven points, nine rebounds, four steals and three assists.
Rachel Choice paced Rosary with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Emily Bakala contributed seven points and Karly Tate four points and eight boards.