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Whoever thinks game-planning for all types of situations doesn’t pay off didn’t watch Bogan rally from a large deficit to knock off Prospect on Saturday.
Despite playing without its two best players, Prospect jumped out to a stunning 18-3 lead on the Bengals at the 23rd annual McDonald’s Shootout at Willowbrook.
That lead disappeared in less than three minutes and Bogan (17-2) went on to win 61-44 thanks to a dominant effort at both ends of the floor in the second half.
“We haven’t had any tough games since Montini, so I knew that was going to happen,” said Bogan coach Gary Bell, whose team has lost only to Loyola and Montini. “We started slow but the kids kicked it into gear.
“Actually we’ve been practicing [for that]. I’ve been having the first five or six players [play like they are] down 20, so that’s why they didn’t panic. That’s why they got back in the game.”
Prospect (11-9) was without senior guard Adriane Falagario, their second-leading scorer who suffered a knee injury during Friday’s loss to Rolling Meadows. The Knights also played the first quarter without leading scorer Taylor Will, who left her jersey at home.
Despite that, the Knights started out on fire as Michele Molini sank her first three three-pointers and 5-11 sophomore center Catherine Sherwood made her first four shots in the paint.
But the Bengals scored eight straight points in the final72 seconds of the quarter and took their first lead, 23-21, on a three-pointer by Deja Dickens midway through the second period.
Prospect responded with a 12-4 run to close the half and was ahead 35-27 after Will made two free throws to start the third quarter.
Then the wheels fell off. Bogan started applying pressure and scoring in transition, outscoring Prospect 24-3 in the third quarter. An incredible 28-1 run gave Bogan a 55-36 lead before Will scored Prospect’s first basket of the second half with 4:39 left in the fourth quarter.
“It’s Bogan,” Bengals senior forward Breyonna Craft explained. “We got to do what we got to do and turn it around.
“Personally, first half I wasn’t scoring that much, but I really thought about it, that I needed to get my stuff together and our team turned around.”
Craft did not have a shot attempt or a rebound in the first half, but made her first four shots of the second half and finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Most of the points came on putbacks, including one that put the Bengals ahead for good, as she and Chelsea Stone were instrumental in the Bengals outrebounding Prospect 30-9 in the second half.
“Rebounding was it mostly, just trying to get the ball to my shooters and the ones that really score the most,” Craft said. “I just got the little scraps, the little pieces and we started to pick back up.”
Brittany Byrd scored 10 of her 15 points after the break for Bogan, while Stone had 13 points and nine rebounds and Dickens had nine points off the bench. Cincinnati recruit Brandey Tarver added eight points and eight rebounds.
Molini had 17 of her game-high 18 points in the first half for Prospect, which until late in the contest had only three players find the scoreboard. Will had 12 points and nine boards and Sherwood had 10 points and seven rebounds but sat out the second half with concussion symptoms.
“[It was a] great first half,” Prospect coach Ashley Graham said. “We were getting good looks, kids were attacking the basket hard, so I was proud of them and I thought they responded to adversity in that first half very well.
“[Bogan] kind of changed up their defense on us, and their pressure, that zone press as well as trapping us, that started to hurt us and wear on us and they really slowed us down in the second half. Then it kind of snowballed.”