Burlington Central only went 1-3 in its Montini Christmas Tournament debut, but the Rockets took a lot away from the experience.
“Coming off what we saw at Montini, I think it was a perfect setup for us to really test ourselves and see where we’re at in the [Fox Valley] conference season,” Rockets coach Collin Kalamatas said.
“The girls played great. We learned a lot about toughness. It’s ‘coach speak,’ but you really saw it going against Loyola, Nazareth, Loyola [a second time] and York – those teams are really physical. It was a great experience to kind of bring something home that can prepare us for the second half of the year and a long playoff run.”
Burlington came back from winter break Tuesday with a 56-26 victory over a Jacobs team that had the same number of FVC wins as the Rockets.
[ Girls basketball: Taylor Charles leads Burlington Central past Jacobs ]
Burlington is hoping to repeat as FVC champions this year after going 10-0 in conference play during the COVID-19-shortened season. Huntley and Crystal Lake Central currently lead the FVC at 5-0. Burlington Central is 4-1, followed by Prairie Ridge, Cary-Grove and Jacobs (all 3-2).
Burlington and Huntley, last season’s FVC runner-up, will meet Tuesday in their first matchup of the year. Huntley also played at the Montini Tournament and was 1-3.
“We learned our strengths and we also saw our weaknesses,” Rockets senior Taylor Charles said about competing at the Montini Tournament. “We’re hoping to win conference and make a really good run at the state tournament.”
Staying the course: Jacobs (9-8) was unable to keep up with Burlington Central in an FVC loss Tuesday, but Golden Eagles coach Jonny Reibel has been impressed with the toughness of his team, most notably its ability to never get too high or too low.
Senior Mackenzie Leahy, the team’s leading scorer, missed the final two games of Wheaton North’s Bill Neibch Falcon Classic with a sprained ankle, but the Eagles still advanced to the consolation title game.
Reibel said Jacobs set a goal this season to finish above .500.
“It was a good end to the tournament, even without [Leahy],” Reibel said. “Anything above .500 is good for us. Our goal is to stay above .500 for the season. These girls have stepped up to the task. They have done everything I’ve asked.”
KRC schedule: Marengo got a jumpstart to the Kishwaukee River Conference season with a 42-16 win over Woodstock on Nov. 22. The four other teams in the conference will play their first KRC games Friday. Woodstock North hosts Woodstock, Marengo hosts Harvard, and Johnsburg hosts Richmond-Burton.
Big shot: Huntley’s Anna Campanelli had an eventful week. The freshman guard provided a game-winning shot – a corner 3 with less than eight seconds remaining – in a 37-36 win over York at Montini’s Christmas Tournament.
Then, in her first game of 2022, Campanelli scored a career-high 17 points and made three 3s in a 65-24 win over McHenry. Campanelli was one of four to score in double figures for the Raiders. Joining her was her older sister, Sammi Campanelli (14 points), along with Jessie Ozzauto (11) and Jori Heard (10).
The win moved Huntley to 9-5 overall and 5-0 in the FVC (tied with Crystal Lake Central), despite some key injuries.
Heard didn’t play in any of the four games at Montini while senior point guard Nicole Flaherty suffered a season-ending ACL injury before the start of the tournament. Junior forward Carley Faulkner, one of the team’s top scorers as a sophomore, tore her ACL before the start of the season.
Assists record: Prairie Ridge senior point guard Elani Nanos became the Wolves’ all-time leader in assists during their 48-25 win over Dundee-Crown on Tuesday. Nanos had six assists and scored a game-high 16 points in the victory.
Nanos passed Karly Statter, a 2019 graduate, as the Wolves’ all-time leader in assists. She now has 121 assists.
Nunnally returns: Crystal Lake South junior Kree Nunnally provided a big boost for the Gators, who came up just short, 40-37, in their FVC game against Cary-Grove on Tuesday. Nunnally, who had missed South’s previous 10 games with a concussion, scored 14 second-half points after the Gators trailed, 20-11, at half.
Nunnally, a guard, had not played in a game since hitting her head in a 43-38 win over Dundee-Crown on Nov. 30. The Gators (3-12) went 1-9 without their leading scorer.
In the same game, Trojans senior forward Maddie Scharrenberg provided a game-high 18 points on eight field goals to lead C-G past South. Scharrenberg transferred to C-G from South before her junior season.
Reindeer Games: McHenry (7-11) finished runner-up at Boylan’s Reindeer Games, losing to Boylan, 49-35 in the championship game. McHenry was 2-2, losing to Belvidere North and defeating Dakota and Harlem, and received three all-tournament selections: Maddi Friedle, Ana Gerstung and Lynette Alsot.