Prospect downs Rolling Meadows, will play Barrington for MSL title
The last time Prospect's girls basketball team played for a Mid-Suburban League championship game was 2015.
Knights senior Andie Will remembers it well.
"I was the water girl sitting on the bench," said Andie, whose sister Taylor was the star of that team.
Now the little sister gets her chance.
And she sure helped make it happen for Prospect, which will visit Barrington (23-5) next Wednesday for the MSL crown.
In an unforgettable sequence, Will scored 17 points in the first six minutes of Wednesday's game at Rolling Meadows.
Her flurry of points started with 5 3-pointers and ended with a steal and layup that made it 25-14.
Prospect (21-6) would never trail again en route to its 57-46 Mid-Suburban East win, capping a 9-1 conference run which made the Knights co-champions with Hersey (25-4, 9-1).
The two teams were equal in all tiebreakers so Prospect advanced to its sixth title game because Hersey was the last East team to play in the showcase event.
The MSL tiebreaker rule meant Prospect had to win by 7 points.
"So in practice, we (starters) were always 7 points behind," Will said. " That was obviously on our minds. So we really had to bring the energy and positivity."
Nobody did it better than Will in those first six minutes.
"I thought she really set the tone at the beginning on how we wanted to play," said Prospect coach Matt Weber. "We made a big emphasis at practice that we needed to start fast because they are a well coached team and they have a lot of kids who can score and they are good in transition."
Will finished with a game-high 24 points, 2 shy of her season-best 26 at the York tourney.
"She is a great player," said RM coach Ryan Kirkorsky. "I've seen her do it for four years. She is a kid who works hard and is one of the best players in our conference. She deserves the success she has had."
Summer Srodulski added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Knights.
"I thought Summer really stood out in the second half as kind of our go-to scorer," Weber added. "Macy Zei hit some big shots. All our starters hit some big shots. Jessica Reizer (9 points) hit a big free throw and made some clutch free throws while KK Keehn hit a big 3-pointer to start the game for us.
"We came out with a lot of energy and then we settled in defensively (held RM scoreless in the first 4:40 of the fourth quarter) so it was nice to see us working together as a team. This is one goal for us. We just want to stay hungry and keep striving to accomplish bigger things."
The Mustangs (15-13, 6-4), who received a team-high 23 points (6 3-pointers) from Emily Galvan, used a 6-0 run (4 points from Charlotte Errico and 2 free throws by Galvan) to get to within 35-30 at half.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Srodulski and Will put the Knights ahead 45-35 with 1:35 left in the third quarter. The Knights opened the final period with a 6-0 run, getting another 3-pointer by Srodulski, a free throw by Keehn and a 17-foot fadeaway jumper by Will for a 52-37 advantage.
Errico added 10 points for RM while Alison Sellergren had 8.
Errico started in place of sophomore Roison Grandberry, who is sidelined with a foot injury.
"Whenever she is called upon, whether it be for a minute or two, or a full game like this one, she (Errico) does a great job," Kirkorsky said of the junior. "Prospect is just obviously a solid team. They played real physical defense and took us out of some things we wanted to do. Congratulations to them on their East title."
"Our girls really wanted to be East champion," Weber said. "Credit Meadows. "We knew they were going to come out fighting in their last home game.
"We always talk about how if you want something, just go out and get it. And I thought our girls really had that desire to go out and win this game."