Prospect handles Glenbard West to reach Blenner title game
Whenever Cahill Gymnasium announcer Steve Hayes called No. 22 for a basket by Prospect or Glenbard West on Thursday, the last name was Brown.
The Knights' Zoe Brown and Hilltoppers' Sophia Brown were each wearing that number.
"Crazy," Zoe Brown said about the coincidence. "What are the chances?"
When it came to chances at the free-throw line, Zoe Brown had the most of anyone in the gym.
The junior forward also made the most.
Zoe Brown converted 8-of-10 and added a pair of inside buckets to finish with a team-high 12 points as Prospect posted a 45-39 win over Glenbard West to close out pool play with a 3-0 record in the 39th annual Blenner Classic at St. Viator.
The defending tourney champion Knights (13-3) will face St. Ignatius (11-3) in Friday's 7 p.m. title game.
Freshman Alli Linke's putback gave Prospect an 11-4 lead early in the second quarter and the Knights never looked back -- although the Hilltoppers (8-6) stayed within striking distance all the way.
Lauren Escalate's rebound and 7-footer from the baseline got Glenbard West within 35-31 with 5:35 left before a 3-point play by Taylor Linke (6 points, 3 assists), 2 free throws by Alli Linke (10 points, 4 rebounds) and 2 free throws by Nicole Atteo (5 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists) put Prospect in front 42-31 with 3:40 left.
The Hilltoppers went on an 8-2 run to close to within 44-39 with 4.5 seconds left.
Zoe Brown's eighth free throw with 2.7 seconds left made it 45-39.
"You don't have to be the leading scorer," said Zoe Brown (6 rebounds, 1 block), who had a career-high 21 points earlier this season. "It's about getting the rebounds, getting assists, steals and working hard on defense. I feel as long as I'm doing that, the scoring will come, That's just how I play."
The Knights played without leading scorer Skylar Splinter (hamstring) and her sister Sadie (ankle).
"Skylar starts and Sadie comes off the bench so we play with them most of the time," Zoe Brown said. "It was definitely hard coming into this game missing two of our key players."
But the Knights continued to display their balanced scoring, up-tempo play and strong depth. Gina Falls (5 points), Molly Gilhooly (3-pointer, 3 rebounds) and Campbell Conner (4 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists) also got into the scoring column for the winners,
"That's (Prospect) a very good basketball team," said former standout Glenbard West guard and coach Kristi Faulkner. "We are proud of our girls. They fight every game. They leave it all on the court. We talk about fighting for every loose ball, diving on the floor and taking charges, and our kids did that."
Leading Glenbard West were sophomore Julia Benjamin (13 points, 2 rebounds), senior Sophia Brown (9 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists) and senior Kennedy Brandt (5 points, 9 rebounds).
"We knew Glenbard West was going to be a tough team," said Prospect coach Matt Weber. "They work real hard defensively and do a good job executing on offense. I thought they did a good job rebounding and giving themselves more opportunities."