NORMAL -- The big bruise on the back of senior forward Rory Manion's left arm is indicative of a basketball team's long, grueling season full of grit and fight.
The grit and fight didn't go away Friday. Unfortunately, the jitters and butterflies didn't go away soon enough for the IC Catholic Prep girls as the Knights fell to Prophetstown 57-48 in a Class 2A semifinal at Redbird Arena.
"This was a great learning experience for us," Knights coach Aubree Schuett said. "It's been so much fun being here, but without a doubt we were a little awestruck tonight. It just took us a little longer to get the jitters out than we would have liked."
The Knights (25-8) will face Teutopolis (28-6) for third-place at 6:15 p.m. Saturday.
"This was a season of firsts for us, and this is such a talented and likable group," Schuett said. "By no means is this a negative for us."
Making their first state appearance in school history, the Knights actually jumped to a quick 4-0 lead, but the Prophets turned to their two all-staters and a deep bench to go on a 10-2 run to close the first quarter.
Prophetstown extended the lead to 10 points late in the second quarter and then to 16 by the end of the third. The Knights were guilty of 14 turnovers and were whistled for 19 fouls to Prophetstown's six.
"Typically, we execute a little better than we did," Schuett said. "We were trying to do things that were out of the ordinary than what we usually do. But Prophetstown is a heck of a a team."
Much of that was Prophetstown controlling the pace of the game.
"We can't play to their tempo," said 37-year Prophets coach Don Robinson. "My coach once told me that you can't play faster than an opponent, but you can play slower and sometimes tempo wins big ballgames."
Senior forward Grace Vitek had a game highs of 24 points and 8 rebounds and played a big role in cutting into the 16-point deficit to start the fourth quarter.
"We really wanted to win," said Vitek, who had 8 points in the fourth quarter and shot 12 of 16 from the field. "I tried to do what I could to get us back in the game but really had to rely on my teammates, and they were big late in the game."
IC Catholic Prep turned up the full-court pressure defense in the fourth quarter and converted several Prophets turnovers, which helped trim the lead to 7 points with 3:42 left in regulation.
Schuett the game plan was to turn to the full-court press late.
"We intended to save some legs in the first half with the bigger floor," Schuett said. "We're not really used to playing on a floor this size. Going in was to pick it up in the second half. It just so happened that we needed to do it a little bit more than we would have liked to."
Manion added 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and added 7 rebounds.
All-staters Clare Kramer had 17 points while point guard Corrie Reiley added 8 points and 7 assists. Senior Karlie Stafford added 13.