Molinis fine farewell lifts Prospect
Playing her final game in the Jean Walker Field House, Michele Molini went out in style.
The 5-foot-6 senior sharpshooter made four 3-point baskets in the final 16 minutes to help Prospect's girls basketball team put away a 58-44 victory over Schaumburg in the Mid-Suburban League crossover.
"I'm going to miss playing here," said Molini (15 points), who joined sophomore teammates Taylor Will (18 points) and Catherine Sherwood (career-17 points) in double figures. "I still feel like a freshman, like it was just yesterday I started playing high school basketball.
"I've been playing with all these girls so long and they've just been great teammates."
The Knights' win guaranteed Ashley Sandstead-Graham a winning record in her first season as the Knights coach.
The former Buffalo Grove all-stater was going up against another Ashley, who was also an all-stater.
Saxons coach Ashley Berggren starred at Barrington and Illinois.
"We were just beat by a team that came to play," said Berggren, whose club (14-14) came to play in the first three minutes when it jumped ahead 8-0.
Graham called a timeout after the Knights had made three consecutive turnovers and trailed 6-0.
"It was kind of funny because we actually talked about coming out fast," Will said. "We didn't want to fall behind again like we have been. When coach called that timeout, we decided right there we were going to get back in the game."
Like clockwork, the Knights (14-12) erased the 8-0 deficit in less than three minutes and went ahead 10-9 on a 3-point play by Sherwood.
"Catherine had a monster game," Graham said. "By far, her best of the season. She was going against Carly Brossard, who I give a lot of credit to. She is a real workhorse for them. I was really happy with Catherine's effort."
Senior Amanda Kelly, playing the final regular-season game of her 1,000-point career, scored a game-high 21 points for Schaumburg while sophomore Jada Blackwell chipped in 8.
"Amanda is such a consistent player," Berggren said. "She will give everything she has. Unfortunately, we needed all five players on the court doing that and it didn't happen.
"We need to take a couple of days now to refocus and rechannel ourselves for the regional (next week at Schaumburg)."
Once Prospect got the 10-9 edge, the two teams exchanged the lead back and forth until Prospect went ahead for good at 22-20 on Will's 3-pointer. That triggered a 10-run which put the hosts on top 29-20.
The Knights led 31-22 when Kelly hit a baseline 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer, making it 31-25.
Molini's 3-pointer to start the second half made it 34-25 and the Saxons never got closer than 7.
"I'm really happy for Michele," said Graham, who also got 2 points apiece from Brooke Greco, Kristen Frasco Marissa Pacini and Trisha Benson. "Michele is such a hard worker coming to practice every day to give it her all. So she deserves everything she gets.
"We always talk about protecting our homecourt. We want to take pride in it and give everything we have in front of our home fans."
Molini gave the fans some exciting 3-point buckets in her home finale and the Knights gave Graham a winning season.
"It was awesome," Will said. "We all came together defensively and did a great job."
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