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Girls Basketball: Sydney Prochaska, Montini start fast, rout Sandwich for 16th straight regional title

The Montini girls basketball team poses with the regional plaque on Friday at IMSA.
The Montini girls basketball team poses with the regional plaque on Friday at IMSA.

AURORA – There is a reason Montini wins titles – regional, and beyond.

The Lady Broncos come out fast and strong, and never let up on their opponents.

Such was the case Friday, as Montini won its 16th regional title in a row with a 73-27 win over Sandwich in the Class 3A IMSA Regional final.

“We’re definitely a fast team. We like to run and push," said Montini senior and SIU recruit Sydney Prochaska, who hit four 3-pointers. "We’ve been having a flow in practice and I think that just came over."

The Lady Broncos (30-4), who advanced to face Rockford Boylan next Tuesday in a sectional semifinal at Hampshire, has their eyes set on a return to state. Montini won four Class 3A titles between 2010 and 2014, and has placed at state four other times in the last decade. The Lady Broncos dropped down from Class 4A to Class 3A this season after losing to Benet in a sectional final last year.

“Our main goal is state," Prochaska said. "That’s what we are looking forward to. We didn’t make it to state last year."

Sandwich, which last year won the program's first-ever regional title and followed that up with another 20-win season, was under no illusions. The Indians knew that they were in for a battle against this tough team.

“That’s a whooping. They are a great team," Sandwich coach Chris Johnson said. "They placed nine out of 12 years at State. We knew it would be a tough thing. Their only losses are to big teams in the state."

Even though it was a rough loss for Sandwich, the Indians finish up a great season with an overall record of 21-12. That was the second most wins in the school’s history after last year's 32-1 season.

“It was a good year," Johnson said. "This is only the second time in 15 or 20 years we’ve made it to a regional final."

Montini came out on fire early, jumping out to a 14-4 lead in the first three minutes. Angelina Giordano's 3-pointer pushed the lead to 17-6 and back-to-back baskets by Taylor Charles with about three minutes left in the quarter solidified the lead to 21-6.

A few trips to the free throw line and a basket by Jaylynn Van took Sandwich to within 10 points of the Broncos. The Indians kept trying to slow the Lady Broncos' game down, but to no avail. Montini ended the first quarter ahead 25-11.

“They also like to play fast paced," Vana said. "That was another thing we wanted to work on and get it down to our pace so we could run it and get our pace going and not let them be all frantic like they are used to playing."

Montini outscored the Sandwich again in the second quarter to go into half ahead 43-20.

“I think our defense had to be concise and making sure we didn’t break down in anything," Prochaska said. "In offense, we had to make sure we were making the right passes and right shots."

Vana, last week scored her 1,000th career point, scored 15 points in her final game.

Taris Thorton led Montini with 16 points, Charles and Prochaska had 12 points each and Giordano scored 11 points.

“I think the secret to my success was just playing hard and getting my team to win,” said Thorton.

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