Montini takes down Geneva

Montini takes down Geneva

Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010
12:45 PM

By Patrick Z. McGavin
YourSeason.com

Whitney Holloway looked at the scoreboard to start the fourth quarter and knew something had to give.

"We knew somebody was going to get a run, and we wanted to make sure it was us that got the run and not them," the Montini senior guard said.

Holloway scored 17 points and registered three steals, two assists and two rebounds to lead the No. 3 Broncos past No. 5 Geneva 55-44 in the championship game of the Vikings Thanksgiving tournament Saturday afternoon.

The game was tied at 34 entering the final quarter. Holloway scored five of her total in the fourth quarter. "We picked up our defense a lot and really got after them," said Holloway, named the tournament most valuable player.

The defending Class 3A state champions ended the Vikings 57-game regular season winning streak. "We knew about the streak," Holloway said. "Geneva's a big time program, and it's always nice to be the one that ended a streak like that."

Holloway and senior forward Whitney Adams (16 points, eight rebounds) helped the Broncos break the game open. Junior center Tianna Brown added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Broncos (4-0). Senior guard Kiki Wilson contributed nine points.

Adams scored on two put backs and Brown scored inside off a beautiful Adams assist in the team's game-changing 12-2 run. After hitting two free throws, Adams delivered the dagger with a three-pointer from the right baseline for the 46-36 lead.

"I was open and our coach Jason Nichols says to be aggressive and look to score in that situation," Holloway said.

Geneva star senior guard Kat Yelle led the Vikings (3-1) with 15 points. The Vikings trailed by as many as eight in the first half. Down 28-22 at the break, Geneva scored the first eight points of the third quarter. Geneva seized its only lead on a Sammy Scofield lay up off a Montini turnover.

After the three ties of the third quarter, Montini limited Geneva to just 3-14 from the field in the decisive fourth quarter. Junior Ashley Santos added 10 points for the Vikings.

"I thought our big three big Holloway, Adams, Wilson played very well," Nichols said. And Tianna Brown did a lot of nice things on the inside block.

"Geneva's a very athletic team, with excellent guards and the game was sloppy at times, but when you play good competition this early, it's good to get the victory."

Albert Almora Jr. and Addison Russell compete for Cubs defensive highlight of the year on back-to-back plays

Albert Almora Jr. and Addison Russell compete for Cubs defensive highlight of the year on back-to-back plays

Joe Maddon declared Monday as "Albert's game" a couple hours before first pitch.

He didn't even know how right he was at the time.

"Albert" is Albert Almora Jr., the Cubs' rookie centerfielder who hasn't gotten to play as much lately with Ian Happ's emergence over the last week.

But with a left-handed pitcher on the mound for the San Francisco Giants Monday night, Maddon wanted to get the right-handed hitting Almora in the lineup. There was also the added benefit of Almora providing the best defense in center with John Lackey — a flyball pitcher — on the mound for the Cubs.

It took only three batters for Almora's impact to be felt:

He was off on a dead sprint from the very second that ball was hit.

What makes the play even more amazing is two pitches prior, Addison Russell had the crowd buzzing with his own highlight-reel play:

If it weren't for Almora's play, Russell's effort might go down as the Cubs' defensive highlight of the season to date.

Of course, this isn't the only time we've seen Almora turn in a highlight-reel catch:

Should Blackhawks' next assistant coach be Joel Quenneville's choice?

Should Blackhawks' next assistant coach be Joel Quenneville's choice?

On April 22, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman vented his frustrations on the team’s all-too-abrupt exit from the postseason, adding that he and coach Joel Quenneville, “are going to work together to make sure that this never happens again.”

There will be plenty of decisions for the two to mull between now and September, when the Blackhawks convene for training camp. When it comes to the assistant head coach vacancy, however, that might need to be decided with a more one-sided approach. That choice ultimately should be made by Quenneville.

In a recent podcast, Pat Boyle and I discussed the Blackhawks’ need to work together on some upcoming decisions. But with the assistant coach, the head coach has to have the loudest voice. The head coach probably should even have the final vote. The relationship between coaches has to be there because they’re around each other constantly. They’ve got to be on the same page. There has to be trust from Day 1.

As for when the Blackhawks name that assistant, there appears to be nothing imminent. A source said Monday that the Blackhawks and Ulf Samuelsson have been in communication about the job — Chris Kuc of the Tribune first reported on Samuelsson on Sunday. On paper it looks like it would be a great fit. Samuelsson and Quenneville played several seasons together with the Hartford Whalers, along with current Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen. The relationship with Samuelsson has been there for a long time and it would make for a smoother transition. It might also provide somewhat of a panacea for Quenneville after former assistant Mike Kitchen, whose friendship with Quenneville also went back to their playing days, was fired last month.

Earlier this month Bowman told the Sun-Times that Quenneville will have a big role in the Blackhawks’ finding their next assistant coach, with the final choice being a “joint collaboration.” We get that there’s an order to these things and everyone has to be in agreement with the final decision. But in the end the head coach has to be 100-percent happy with his immediate staff. So whoever the next assistant coach is, the decision has to be 100 percent Quenneville’s.