Girls basketball: Montini tops St. Francis in 3A sectional semi

Host Glenbard South falls to Trinity in semifinal

St. Francis’ Stephanie Sullivan, left, and Montini’s Peyton Farrell battle for a possession during the Class 3A Glenbard South girls basketball sectional semifinal on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 in Glen Ellyn.

GLEN ELLYN – With four minutes gone by in Tuesday night’s Class 3A Glenbard South Sectional semifinal, there was a ton of excitement for the home crowd in the Raiders gym.

Glenbard South had sprinted out to a quick seven-point lead over Trinity, forcing the Blazers to call timeout.

Unfortunately for the Raiders, they couldn’t sustain the effort.

Trinity scored the next 15 points to take a commanding lead and didn’t let up in a 39-31 win.

Trinity will play Montini for the sectional title at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Glenbard South junior Brooklynn Moore finished with 15 rebounds and nine points and kept her team in the game.

“She’s an absolute beast on the boards,” Raiders coach Eric Daca said. “She’s strong, she elevates and she just goes up and gets those rebounds.”

Glenbard South’s Jamie Mizwicki, left, leads a fast break as Trinity’s Jaylani Hernandez defends during the Class 3A Glenbard South girls basketball sectional semifinal on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 in Glen Ellyn.

The Raiders’ roster has only three seniors and one of them, Allie Mizwicki, almost brought her team back from the brink in the fourth quarter.

Mizwicki scored 14 points and her 3-pointer early in the final period closed the gap to 29-26.

Glenbard South had chances to get even closer, but Trinity clamped down on defense and outscored the Raiders 10-5 down the stretch.

“We started 7-0 and then we got stuck,” Daca said. “You’ve got to give credit to Trinity. They came out with a lot of intensity and we buckled a little under the pressure. We talked about being strong with the ball, knowing they’d be right up tight on us and we kind of gave in to that a little bit.”

Jamie Mizwicki pitched in with four points for the Raiders, who finished 24-8.

“It’s going to be tough leaving this group,” said Allie Mizwicki, who completed her career with a total of 998 points. “We really fought in this game and we’ve been fighting this entire season. Everyone came out and supported each other in practice, in the games. This was definitely a great group. It’s unfortunate that we came up short tonight, but this doesn’t take away from all of our conference wins and our second regional championship.”

In the opening game, Victoria Matulevicius led a second-half surge for Montini.

The senior scored seven points, grabbed three rebounds and had two assists early in the third quarter as the Broncos opened up a 17-point lead over St. Francis en route to a 52-38 victory.

Matulevicius said it was the Broncos’ approach after intermission that led to the victory.

“We talked about attacking their box and one, moving the ball in and out and looking for the gaps in their defense,” she said. “Everything we talked about in practice translated into the game.”

Behind 16 points from Natalie Doyle, St. Francis rallied to get within 10 in the fourth quarter.

The Spartans didn’t get any closer as top-seeded Montini clamped down on defense.

Nicolette Kerstein led Montini with 16 points. Matulevicius finished with 11. Shea Carver pitched in with 10 points for the Broncos.

“I just look at every game like it could be our last,” Matulevicius said. “I give everything I have so I can play with my team one more time because when the season ends, I’m really going to miss my teammates.”