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Kathleen Doyle (middle) of Benet Academy catches an elbow to the face as she comes down with a rebound between Ellen Dwyer (left) and Kelly Gordon of Geneva. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
It’s the just the kind of situation basketball players dream about, and Friday the dream became reality for Benet’s Christen Prasse.
Prasse was at the free throw line with 1.3 seconds remaining in the game and the score tied 62-62.
The Benet senior calmly sank the two shots to give the Redwings a 64-62 win over Geneva and third place in the Naperville North/Benet Holiday Tournament.
“We shoot so many free throws in practice,” Prasse said. “And our coach often tries to put the pressure on and recreate the atmosphere saying something like, “It’s a championship game” or “It’s the final seconds.” When it comes down to doing it, it’s a piece of cake.”
The game was not an easy one for the Redwings (11-6) who fell behind by 10 points in the first quarter and trailed most of the way. But several runs of good shooting at different times by different people kept them in the game and set up Prasse’s last-second heroics.
In the second quarter, Prasse had the hot hand scoring 13 of her game-high 25 points, but the Vikings (9-8) still led 32-25 at halftime.
In the third quarter, sophomore Emily Eshoo stepped up with 13 of her 22 points, which included a trio of three-pointers, and that brought Benet to within 45-44 going into the final period.
“At halftime, we focused on shutting down No. 3 (Prasse), and No. 35 (Eshoo) shows up and took the bulk of the work,” Geneva coach Sarah Meadows said. “It was frustrating.”
And in the fourth quarter it was Prasse and Emily Schramek who tossed in eight points each on the Benet drive to the victory. Schramek finished the game with 14 points.
Prasse, Eshoo and Schramek hit all but three of the Benet points, and those were produced by freshman guard Kathleen Doyle. They brought the Redwings to within one at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter featured seven lead changes and four ties before the matter was settled.
“Our shooting was good tonight and kept us in the game,” Prasse said. “But our boxing out and our defense got us the chances to drive to the basket and hit those second shots. As a team we feed off each other and we’re flexible. We’re mostly about the same size and we can do a lot of things.”
“We’re learning how to play together,” Benet coach Peter Paul said. “Eshoo and Schramek had great games tonight. We knew we could shoot, but tonight we did a great job on defense and rebounding.”
Sami Pawlak led the Vikings with 20 points, eight rebounds and four steals. Abby Novak chipped in 17 and Sidney Santos scored 10.
“Our kids are just having trouble finishing,” Meadows said. “We’re going to get over that hill. We just have to be patient because it’s all going to work out.”