Peter Paul knew the Benet girls basketball team needed a perfect effort Thursday night to keep its postseason run alive.
Even that might not have been enough.
Senior Morgan Tuck scored 30 points 28 in the first three quarters and Bolingbrook used its tremendous height advantage to roll over Benet 75-46 in the championship of the Class 4A Neuqua Valley sectional in Naperville Thursday. The Raiders scored 28 of the game's first 35 points, leading 46-23 at halftime en route to their eighth consecutive sectional title.
"There's very little weakness that (the Raiders) have," Paul said. "You almost have to pitch a no-hitter.
"We just didn't play the type of game that we're capable of, and Bolingbrook had a lot to do with that."
Bolingbrook entered the sectional final intent on using its superior size Benet has just one player taller than 5-foot-11 on its roster; the Raiders start three girls who are 6-foot-2 or better to bully the Redwings in the post. That meant a heavy dose of the 6-foot-2 Tuck, who responded with 9 first-quarter points and 18 in the first half.
She established herself early with two nice post moves for layups and gave Bolingbrook a 15-4 lead with a plus-one putback at the three-minute mark. After Benet junior Christen Prasse made it 15-7 with a 3-pointer, Tuck started a run that effectively put the game out of reach by pump-faking at the free-throw line before driving in for an uncontested layup.
A putback by senior Cabriana Capers pushed the Raiders' lead to 19-7, senior Allie Hill followed with a 3-pointer, and junior Kennedy Cattenhead got loose for a fastbreak. By the time Benet senior Sidney Prasse banked in a 3-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer, the Raiders led 28-10.
"Post domination," said Tuck, who finished with 9 rebounds. Coach Anthony Smith "made sure that we knew we were going to be bigger, so we had to want the ball and we had to dominate inside.
"My teammates just gave me the ball in positions where I could score easier."
Sidney and Christen Prasse both entered Thursday night averaging 21.5 points a game over their past two contests, but Bolingbrook used its perimeter length and closeout ability to limit the sharp-shooting sisters. Sidney Prasse recovered from a shaky start that included two airballs and two fouls in the game's first four minutes to score 15 points, and Christen Prasse added 10.
Senior Nicole Valentine scored 16 points for the Redwings, who finished the season 25-7 including an 18-game winning streak that stretched from Dec. 6 to Feb. 4.
"We had a great year," Paul said. "What they will always remember is 18 games in a row. In the 18 years that I've been (at Benet), we haven't had 18 games in a row."
Senior Nia more scored 14 points and Capers added 8 for Bolingbrook.
But Tuck the McDonald's All-America and UConn commit was the star Thursday, hitting three straight layups to push Bolingbrook's lead to 35-10 midway through the second quarter and stepping out to hit a 3-pointer near the end of the first half. She scored six more times after the intermission, never letting the Redwings entertain the idea of a comeback.
"If Morgan needs to go for 40 (points), Morgan will go for 40," Smith said. "But now she's trying to make sure she has all her teammates here with her going."
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