Prospect shines against hosts at Lake Zurich’s annual showcase

Prospect’s girls basketball team aced an exam Tuesday afternoon — an Exam Jamm College Showcase game, specifically.

Lake Zurich staged a combined nine showcase games in three gyms. The first of three contests in the fieldhouse featured Prospect’s Knights and the host Bears.

Knights senior captain and guard Skylar Splinter played smart, Phi Beta Kappa-esque hoops, pouring in 10 of her game-high-tying 15 points in the second half of her club’s 56-45 victory.

Nine of those points after intermission came via three-pointers, including back-to-back treys in a 35-second span at the end of the third quarter.

Her 6-point spurt upped Prospect’s lead to 46-36.

“We’re a team that gets going after one of us connects for a three-pointer,” Splinter said, alluding to mates Gina Falls, Riley Carroll, Alli Linke and Zoe Black, each of whom netted a triple in the first half.

“Three-point shooting is contagious,” she added.

Prospect (5-5) notched a healthy 27 of its 56 points from behind-the-arc hardwood.

“We shoot a good amount of those,” said Knights coach Matt Weber, whose squad was coming off a heart-busting, 1-point loss to Rolling Meadows Friday night. “But we won today because our girls executed the game plan — ‘Take what the defense gives us’ — to a T. And our defense led to some big transition points. Lake Zurich plays very good defense and rebounds well.

“Our girls battled.”

Seven of his balanced crew of Knights scored at least 3 points in the first 16 minutes. The late matinee was tied at 15 after one quarter and knotted at 19 early in the second quarter, thanks to a pair of free throws from Bears sophomore guard Leah Gilbertson at the 6:13 mark.

Prospect then produced an 11-3 run, with 4 coming from Knights junior reserve guard Sadie Splinter (6 points, team-high 5 rebounds). Skylar’s little sister also secured the biggest offensive rebound of the game, batting a missed shot off a Bear while falling out of bounds under the basket.

“Sadie,” Weber said, “executes her role for us perfectly. Big rebounds, defensive stops, little things. We did a lot of the little things right to get this win.”

Falls’ second trey of the game expanded Prospect’s lead to 33-22 in the seventh second of the second half. LZ (5-6), which had won 5 of 6 games after an 0-4 start, got back in it with a 14-7 surge and trailed only 40-36 at 2:45 of the third stanza.

Bears sophomore reserve forward Alex Nowak-Tice (4 boards) scored all 5 of her points in the quarter. LZ forward Anna Gilbertson — the team’s lone senior and leading rebounder (6) Tuesday — struck for 6 of her 12 points and steady junior guard Molly Friesen (15 points) hit a 3 in the same frame.

“Alex played quite well in the second half,” LZ coach Chris Bennett said. “We want her to play aggressive basketball consistently.

“Prospect,” he added, “plays hard, plays fast, plays a physical brand of basketball. That’s a team with three, four kids who can hurt you with their shooting. This game came down to loose balls and rebounds; Prospect’s kids went after them and got to more of them than we did.”

Linke and Brown finished with 10 points apiece for the victors. Linke made a WNBA-looking shot in the third minute of the fourth quarter, pump-faking and turning just outside the lane before tear-dropping a smooth, 12-foot fade-away shot.

That put Prospect up a cozy 51-38.

Junior guard Avery Cooper scored 6 points for Lake Zurich, ranked No. 17 in the Daily Herald Top 20.

Prospect tops the list of “Others to watch” in the rankings.

“Both teams are skilled, so when you have a matchup like this, heart usually determines the winner,” Skylar Splinter said. “We’d been in a little slump. We played with a lot of heart. We needed this win, wanted this win.”

Joe Lewnard/jlewnard@dailyherald.comProspect’s Zoe Brown, left, makes contact with Lake Zurich’s Anna Gilbertson during the Lake Zurich girls basketball shootout Tuesday.
Joe Lewnard/jlewnard@dailyherald.comLake Zurich’s Anna Gilbertson has the ball as she tries to squeeze between Prospect defenders Sadie Splinter, left, and Zoe Brown as teammate Alex Nowak-Tice helps during the Lake Zurich girls basketball shootout Tuesday.

Prospect’s Skylar Splinter and LZ’s Friesen were named co-players of the game.

Joe Lewnard/jlewnard@dailyherald.comProspect’s Skylar Splinter, left, pressures Lake Zurich’s Layne Nordstrom during the Lake Zurich girls basketball shootout Tuesday.
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