One of the goals the Prophetstown girls' basketball team set for itself this season was to get another postseason crack at Freeport Aquin.|
After fending off Three Rivers Conference rival Erie 36-31 to win the Class 1A Polo Regional championship this past Friday, the Lady Prophets (27-3) get their long-awaited shot at the defending state champions tonight at 7:30 at the River Ridge Sectional in Hanover.
In last year's 1A sectional finals, Prophetstown gave its all with a strong defensive effort, but ultimately dropped a 36-24 decision to the Lady Bulldogs. Also standing at 27-3, Aquin is led by Arizona State-bound post standout Sophie Brunner. Brunner dropped 32 points in the Lady Bulldogs' 59-38 regional-final win over Dakota on its home court.
"This time of the year, there aren't too many slouches,'' said Prophetstown coach Don Robinson, whose club is on a nine-game winning streak. "We've talked a lot about Sophie Brunner, talked about her with respect -- a lot of respect. She knows when people are doubling down on here, and she's good at getting her teammates involved.''
To thwart the possibility of Brunner or Bulldogs' sophomore point guard Haley Chang from taking over, defense and time of possession will be crucial for the Lady Prophets. Strong defense has long been a hallmark of Robinson's Prophetstown teams.
"Defense is definitely a key,'' he said, "and you know, another big key is time of possession. We've got to hang on to the ball longer -- they can't score if they don't have the ball -- and get to use our strengths, of which ball-handling is one. We've got to get their kids to guard us in space, where we can do more damage.
"We have to try and make them guard us on the perimeter, and stay with our game plan.The closer this game is for a longer period of time, then it comes down to who can make a play, and we've got some good 3-ball shooters.''
Coming off their sixth straight regional crown, the Lady Prophets are also looking to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the program's lone sectional-title team with a similar feat this week. But, it all begins with tonight's rematch, one 12 months in the making.
"Of all our goals, we talked about trying to get back to this game,'' said Robinson. "Getting another chance at Aquin.''
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