Homewood-Flossmoor High School’s second-ranked girls basketball team is heading into Monday’s super-sectional game with everything peaking at the right time. Coach Anthony Smith said his team is playing its best ball of the season and the players have become more confident in their abilities.
That’s good timing because Montini Catholic High School of Lombard, the top-rated team in the Chicago Tribune rankings, is H-F’s opponent in the super-sectional at Mother McAuley High School in Chicago.
“They’re a very talented team. They have five seniors and they’re a well-balanced team. Montini has one of the better programs,” Smith said of his upcoming opponent. “I’m looking forward to a great basketball game.”
Montini won its 14th consecutive sectional crown with a 67-32 win over Chicago Whitney Young at the Argo sectional. This will be the first meeting between H-F (23-2) and Montini (31-1) this year.
H-F enters the super-sectional playing at its highest level of the season.
“I think we are, we’re finally at that place where we are noticeably ahead of where we were earlier in the season,” Smith said. “The effort, the intensity is in a better place now.”
Smith explained that the pressure of playing in the post season games is bringing out the best from his players.
“Our team likes playing tough competition and Montini provides that for them. We enjoy playing very good teams like this. We know we’re going to have to come out and play at our best. This is what we like,” Smith explained.
H-F has already taken on good teams. A 63-45 victory over Marist in the Palos Heights sectional final required a strong effort.
“Marist had a lot of motivation to want to beat us as we beat them last year in the sectional. They would have liked nothing more than to return the favor this year,” Smith explained. “But we played hard and made some stops when Marist seemed to be picking things up.”
Smith said senior Nadia Chanel Green has brought her already strong game to a higher level. The Missouri-bound star has “helped lead the team as she always has” in this post-season run. Green tallied 18 points against Marist.
H-F has also benefitted from strong rebounding by Michelle Pruitt, who’s “doing a great job” according to Smith. Pruitt grabbed seven rebounds and scored nine points.
Smith cited intense pressure defense led by Karli Seay who also scored 12 points.
“Our guards have played very well on both ends of the floor,” Smith said.
Following the victory over Marist, there has been no letting up as Smith and his team prepare for Montini.
Smith said his team practiced Friday and Saturday and will also practice on Sunday before the super-sectional on Monday.
“We thrive on getting ready for good opponents in big games, it brings out the best in our players,” Smith noted.