Knief helps Burlington survive Prairie Ridge's upset bid
Burlington Central girls basketball coach Collin Kalamatas could finally breathe a little easier.
Spearheaded by a pair of crucial 3-pointers from Lauren Knief and a 6-of-6 effort from the free-throw line, top-seeded Central held on for a narrow 44-40 win over upset-minded Prairie Ridge in a semifinal contest of the Fox Valley Conference tournament Wednesday night at Central.
The Rockets (12-2) host Huntley for the conference championship at 7 p.m. Friday.
"Prairie Ridge is a good solid team," Kalamatas said. "We faced some adversity tonight with Elana (Wells) in foul trouble. We trust Lauren shooting the 3. She hit a couple of big ones tonight."
A layup by Karsen Karlblom gave the Wolves a 33-32 lead with 4:06 remaining.
Knief went to work and buried a pair 3s from deep in the left corner to give the Rockets a 38-33 with 3:46 left in the game.
"I have really been working hard on my 3-point shooting," said Knief. "I felt comfortable shooting the 3 tonight. We are excited to play Huntley for the conference championship Friday. They are a very good team."
The Rockets sealed the win by making 6-of-6 from the line in the final 2 minutes.
Wells, who scored 10 points despite being on the bench most of the game with foul trouble, made 4-of-4 from the line in the clutch. Avery Anderson connected on both her shots from the charity stripe in the waning moments.
Taylor Charles paced the Rockets with 11 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 7 blocked shots.
Karlblom paced the Wolves with 21 points with 3 treys.
Led by 5 points from Wells and 4 from Charles, the Rockets catapulted to an early 14-3 lead.
But, the visiting Wolves refused to quit.
PR scored the final 8 points of the quarter, all by Karlblom to cut the deficit to 14-11.
Prairie Ridge scored the first 7 points of the second quarter to complete a 15-0 run.
Emma Kay connected on a shot from beyond the arc and Alana Mocchi and Kelly Gende converted putbacks to give PR an 18-14 lead.
The Rockets broke a nearly 8-minute scoring drought when Rebecca Carani made a layup to make the score 18-16 with 4:10 left before intermission.