VILLA PARK – During Lindsey Jarosinski’s stellar four-year varsity career, the Montini girls basketball team has endured few games as agonizing as Saturday.
The Broncos saw a lightning-fast start against Indiana power St. Joseph South Bend dissolve into a 34-31 overtime loss in the Coach Kipp's Hoopsfest at Willowbrook.
But the Wake Forest-bound star center hopes the setback can be a lesson learned.
“We need to fight through adversity,” Jarosinski said. “Our offense was really bad [13 of 38 field goal shooting with 19 turnovers], and then we didn’t get back on the defensive end, rebound or get loose balls. We realize we have to get better at the little things.”
After jumping out to a 14-2 lead through one quarter against defending Indiana Class 3A champ St. Joseph (12-3), Montini (21-2) made just seven of 28 field goals the rest of the way. The once huge lead was just 18-16 at the half.
“We lost focus,” Jarosinski said, “and we let their good shooter [Keegan Sullivan, who had 16 points] and our bad offense affect us.”
A perfectionist in the best of times, Montini coach Jason Nichols was succinct in his postgame remarks.
“They switched up their defense [from first quarter man-to-man to a 2-3 zone] and we totally got stagnant,” Nichols said. “Our reads of the game were poor, our turnovers and decision-making were disgusting, and our leadership from our top kids was not very good tonight.
“They [the players] have to learn from this. This is the most prepared we’ve been going into a game, and we just didn’t show up.”
St. Joseph closed regulation on a 6-0 run to force overtime tied 27-27, then answered a Jarosinski layup to open the extra sessions with another 5-0 run to take command.
Strong all season, Montini’s inside tandem of Ohio State-bound Aaliyah Patty [12 points, eight rebounds and two steals] and Jarosinski [10 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots] again put up solid numbers.
“We have strong shooters [at guard spots], and our high-low game has usually been working really well this year,” Jarosinski said. “It was hard today because we were doing so well in the first quarter, and then we just lost it in the second. It was tough on all of us.”
Ilysse Pitts added five points and four assists for the Broncos.
Nichols’ long coaching stint at Montini has had few speed bumps. He hopes Saturday’s rare heartbreak will add killer instinct to his squad.
“It’s disappointing,” he said, “but sometimes with this group when things get tough we’re not fighting through. We have to get tougher.
“I didn’t think our post play was very good tonight, and at times on the perimeter we didn’t do a good job of getting them the ball in good situations either. That was a total team loss. Now we’ll find out a little more about them when we see how we respond.”