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Montini game plan nearly delivers upset of top seed
By Orrin Schwarz | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 3/2/2013 12:47 AM

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Montini was right on schedule.

“We wanted to get the game within 10 points by the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter, no matter how it happened,” Broncos coach Brian Opoka said. “We knew it was going to get ugly, and we knew we were going to have to take some lumps. We knew being down 16 was rough.”

The eighth-seeded Broncos lulled No. 1 Orr into its trap and then threw a scare into the Spartans before falling 59-48 Friday night at the Class 3A Glenbard South regional.

“We got relaxed,” said Orr coach Louis Adams. “We didn’t finish it like we started.”

Montini (19-9) led only once, and that 1-0 lead came before the game even started when Orr (26-3) was assessed a technical foul for entering starting guard Brandon Clemons in the official score book as wearing uniform No. 11 and sending him to the court in No. 3. Montini guard Logan Goss made a free throw, and then the Broncos inbounded the ball instead of the opening tip.

For the next 24 minutes that was the Montini highlight. Orr scored the next nine points and led 23-8 after the first quarter, 44-27 going into the fourth.

“We had some jitters in the first half. Coming out in the second half we were able to maintain the deficit and then chip away bit by bit,” Goss said.

The Broncos started the fourth quarter with a 13-1 run, pulling within 6 points when junior Simmie Cobbs grabbed an offensive rebound and scored a circus shot off the backboard, then cutting the Orr lead to five with 4:37 left on a pair of Cobbs free throws.

“We set out to get down to 10 and then work from there,” Goss said. “We were able to move the ball, attack them, and things were moving our way.”

“They’re well-coached, man, they never quit,” Adams added.

Cobbs scored 11 of his team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter.

“He’s a ballplayer. He’s going to get his,” Adams said.

“He’s a very competitive kid and hates to lose, which is what you want out there,” Opoka added. “He came out and played a great second half. It was a challenge.”

Orr, ranked second in Class 3A by Associated Press, made enough free throws the rest of the way, 13 of 21, to push the lead back to double figures. The Spartans were 18 of 31 at the line for the game.

“Thirty-one attempts for them from the line, that was the game plan,” Opoka said. “We don’t want to go in and say we’re going to go and just get to the line, but we had to find some way to turn it up. They went into a stall mentality.”

Sean Nash added 10 points and Goss had 9 for Montini, which was making its first regional final appearance in 12 years.

“It was exciting,” Goss said. “Last year we fell short of it and it hurt, so this year we just wanted to get to it and see what we could do with it.”

Follow Orrin on Twitter@orrin_schwarz