Points and scoring records don’t mean much to Benet’s Christen Prasse. But the Redwings sure needed every point the 5-foot-10 senior guard put up Tuesday against Naperville North at the Class 4A regional at Benet.
Prasse scored 34 points, including 16 of Benet’s first 26 points, and the sixth-seeded Redwings made 14 of 19 free throws in the final 4:34 to hold on and defeat No. 11 seed Naperville North 60-54.
Benet (20-9) will face No. 3 seed Naperville Central (24-6), a 49-35 winner over Aurora East earlier in the evening, Thursday at 7:00 p.m. for the regional title.
Thursday’s finale might have been an all-Naperville affair if not for Prasse, who staked the hosts to a 26-16 lead with 2:53 remaining in the second quarter then nailed a three-pointer with 32 seconds left after Naperville North closed to within 26-22.
“I felt really confident,” Prasse said. “I was really confident in my shot and I knew that if we wanted to win we were going to have to make our shots and mine were falling. It switches off pretty much every game because all of us can shoot, but tonight was my game.”
Prasse’s 34-point explosion, a career high, also helped her eclipse the 1,000-mark for her career.
“You could see some of the youth on the team,” she said. “Girls getting down if their shots aren’t falling. I think that’s what kind of separates me from them. I’ve been through it three years. I know winning is more important than me having a good game, and that’s what everyone is learning and figuring out.”
Benet extended its lead to 41-38 with 4:10 left in the third quarter, then went 6:13 without scoring before freshman Kathleen Doyle made a three-pointer. But Naperville North was unable to take advantage, scoring just six points during that six-minute span.
“We went cold at the wrong time,” Naperville North coach Jacquie Discipio said. “We had opportunities, but when you can’t put the ball in the basket in a close game like that, it’s hard to come out winning. And Prasse was amazing. No matter what we were doing, we weren’t able to stop her.”
Trailing 46-34 following two Emily Schramek free throws with 4:34 left, Naperville North (14-14) turned to Lauren LoLordo, whose four three-pointers helped the Huskies close to within 54-50 with 31 seconds remaining.
But Benet held on from the free-throw line to earn a date opposite Naperville Central for a berth in the Oswego sectional.
“LoLordo getting hot was awesome,” Discipio said. “It was a great way for her to end her career. But it was a little too late, and we were still fighting an uphill battle. We had a little momentum, but we were still fighting an uphill battle.”
Schramek added 10 points and Doyle and sophomore Emily Eshoo each had five for Benet. Prasse also led with 10 rebounds. Senior Zoe Swift led Naperville North with 17 points, LoLordo added 15 and Kayla Sharples had 14 points and seven rebounds.