Plainfield resident Kaylee Bambule sets Montini’s all-time record for three-point field goals

By Bobby Narang
For the Enterprise

Montini coach Jason Nichols had one last parting gift to deliver to senior Kaylee Bambule.

Kaylee Bambule

After the Broncos defeated Fremd 35-22 in the Class 4A state third-place game in Normal on March 4, Nichols, while sitting in the postgame press conference with Bambule and Claudia Kunzer, informed Bambule that she was the school’s all-time leading 3-point shooter.

“(Former Montini player) Kateri Stone was texting me after Friday’s semifinals about the all-time leading 3-point shooter,” Nichols said. “She asked, ‘Did (Kaylee) pass me?’ I said, “Yup.”

Bambule, an Ohio University signee and Plainfield native, beat some special players to earn Montini’s all-time 3-point shooting mark with over 300 3s. The Broncos have produced countless college players during Nichols’ tenure, and won four state titles and earned four third-place trophies.

“It’s really cool because Montini has had a lot of great three-point shooters,” Bambule said.

Bambule closed out her stellar career with a flourish, and added a new wrinkle to her game. Mostly a spot-up shooter, Bambule became a regular penetrator late in the season. She put the ball on the floor and hit the game-tying basket at the buzzer to force overtime in an eventual double-overtime win over Homewood-Flossmoor in a Class 4A supersectional.

“We did not plan for Kaylee to do that: She doesn’t drive often,” Nichols said.

Bambule, a guard and Class 4A AP First-Team selection, scored eight points in Montini’s 37-35 loss to Edwardsville in the state semifinal, and added six points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals against Fremd.

Bambule said the win over Fremd was a special way to end her career with a win. She had to take on more responsibility this season, not only because of her experience but due to season-ending injuries to highly regarded guards Nikki Oppenheimer (Syracuse recruit) and sophomore Zoe Zacker, a top 100 recruit nationally.

“To play in this game and end my career at Montini with a win is unbelievable,” Bambule said. “We got hit with two of our better players with season-ending injuries and it showed a lot of toughness and a lot of heart for us to get here. I’m beyond proud of our team.”

Nichols, a hard-driving coach, showed his soft side when talking about Bambule’s worth to the program. Bambule spent hours in the gym working on her shot and becoming a well-rounded player.

“She has been guarded so hard this year,” Nichols said. “You give her an inch, she will take advantage. Kaylee Bambule will really be missed next year.”

The 5-foot-7 Bambule averaged 13 points and 3.5 rebounds and made 117 3-pointers this season for the 33-2 Broncos.

“I had a great experience at Montini,” Bambule said. “I couldn’t ask for a better experience. I don’t think there’s anything better. Coach got the best out of us, made us work hard and become better players.”

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