IC Catholic Prep making up for lost time with regional title
Claire Wagner and her IC Catholic Prep teammates are feeling grateful for the chance to shine in the postseason this year after the pandemic wreaked havoc on the last two seasons.
They appear to be trying to more than make up for anything they may have missed out on.
The Knights claimed their first regional title since 2018 -- and first in coach Todd Fisher's reign at the school -- with a 68-20 defeat of Chicago Dyett in Friday night's Class 2A regional final in Elmhurst.
Top-seeded IC Catholic Prep jumped ahead 20-4 after one quarter and led 40-13 at the half after forcing 30 turnovers from the Eagles. Wagner, a senior, scored 21 of her game-high 28 points in the first half.
"We always try to come out strong and always be aggressive," said Wagner, who added 11 rebounds and 5 steals while playing less than three quarters. "I feel like we do a good job crashing the boards and executing what coach says. We all share the ball and we all look to shoot. I think we're going to make it far this year."
The Knights, who improved to 23-8 on the year, advanced to the Timothy Christian sectional where they will play Joliet Catholic in Tuesday's semifinals. The third-seeded Angels knocked off No. 2 Lisle 56-48.
"I hope we make it far," said Wagner, a volleyball standout as well who will play basketball at Loras next season. "This is a huge accomplishment for us. We start three sophomores so we're young, and so this is awesome for the sophomores to see this and have this opportunity.
"With COVID ruining my sophomore and junior season, this is awesome. I want to go far and I feel like we have confidence and can go far. We're grateful for this opportunity to be able to have games and playoffs, and to have the opportunity to go to state."
One of the sophomores, forward Allie Geiger, played a big role in the team's fast start against Dyett. She recorded 7 of her 8 steals in the first half and added 6 points and a pair of blocked shots in the game.
"It was fun and it feels good to win a regional to keep playing," Geiger said. "That's a lot of turnovers and those (transition points) are fun."
The 11-8 Eagles were led by Nina Coleman's 9 points and guard Ciara Davis added 7 rebounds and 3 steals, but they were no match for the Knights on this night.
"That was the whole game plan going in. To play fast and force turnovers and try and get as many easy buckets as possible," Fisher said. "The kids ran the game plan perfectly. It was a great team win."