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1/8/13 Maywood Hinsdale South's Toni Romiti (21) throws a pass past Proviso East on their basketball game. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
The Hinsdale South girls basketball team runs through senior guard Toni Romiti.
Everyone, especially the opposing team, knows this.
It often doesn’t matter. Even with a bull’s-eye on her back, Romiti scored 40 points against Proviso East, 38 against rival Hinsdale Central, and 30 points in the Jan. 24 win over Willowbrook.
“Everyone does focus in on her, but sometimes it’s great because she can draw in the other team and get the other players into the game,” Hornets coach Jen Belmonte said. “But we do rely on her and when she gets her mental game going there’s no stopping her.”
Romiti is one of just three seniors on a young Hornets team that lost most of the nucleus that won the conference title last year. The Hornets (13-7) carried an 8-1 record in the West Suburban Gold into Tuesday’s scheduled game against Proviso East and would clinch the title with a win.
A lot of that success is due to the on-court leadership of Romiti. It is a responsibility she enjoys.
“I try to stay positive and I always push (teammates) as hard as possible in a game or in practice,” Romiti said. “I try as hard as possible to get the best out of them.”
Romiti acts like the Hornets’ field general on the court, leading her team and challenging players and herself during warmups and especially after the opening tip. She plays with a tough, coiled intensity and expects the same from people around her. When the Hornets fell behind 27-20 at halftime to the Warriors, Romiti urged her teammates to step up.
“She just said some things to us in the locker room to get us motivated,” junior forward MacKenzie Kern said. “We feed off her energy and she really influences us to do well.”
Kern and Romiti played together at Cass Jr. High in Darien and Romiti knows she can rely on Kern in tough moments.
“I felt like when she (Kern) is on as a shooter, she can hit from just about anywhere,” Romiti said.
Kern proved it again, scoring 13 points, including five straight early in the fourth quarter that put the Hornets in the lead for good.
“I love it when that happens,” she said. “When someone else can get out there and make those shots and help the team win, it makes me even more happy than when I score.”~.