Girls basketball: Prospect smothers Mundelein with tough defense in 52-27 win
With a Mid-Suburban League first-place showdown looming, the Prospect girls basketball team took care of preliminary business early on Thursday night.
The Knights charged out to a 14-1 lead after a quarter and never looked back with a 52-27 nonconference triumph over visiting Mundelein at the Jean Walker Fieldhouse in Mt. Prospect.
Next up for Prospect (14-4) is Friday's date with the No. 3-ranked team in Class 3A, Hersey (15-3). Both teams are 3-0 in the MSL East.
Prospect held Mundelein (7-9) without a basket on Thursday until senior Gracie Werner drove for a short bank shot to make it 17-3 with 6:20 left in the second quarter.
The Knights kept up the defensive pressure and senior guard Nicole Atteo's driving layup with 4:44 left in the half made it 21-5.
"You can never go in with an overconfident mindset," Atteo said. "You just kind of have to play your own game and never underestimate your opponent. We're really excited about (Friday night). We're going to come out like we play, give it our best and put up a good fight. We are confident and hope for a good outcome."
The Knights welcomed back their leading scorer, junior Skylar Splinter, as well as senior Lauren Harrell (ankle). Both were sidelined for two weeks.
Splinter made an immediate impact when she assisted on Alli Linke's fast-break layup for the game's first basket. Harrell got her first bucket on a fastbreak layup for a 10-0 lead.
"It was nice to see them (Harrell and Splinter) come back and get their feet wet," said Knights coach Matt Weber. "I liked our energy defensively. We were very eager to get back on the court (following St. Viator tourney last week). We wanted to keep building defensively so we talked about the energy at the beginning of the game and I thought we did a really good job with everyone matching the intensity we wanted to show. "
The Knights showed balanced scoring again led by Zoe Brown (10 points), Alli Linke (10) and Splinter (8).
Teammates Gina Falls, Ashlyn Pomis, Molly Gilhooly, Riley Carroll and Taylor Linke also made it into the scoring column.
"Offensively, I thought there were times we struggled, but we continue to find different hot hands and try to take advantage of our strength which is our athleticism and running the court and getting easy baskets," Weber said.
It was tough for Mundelein to keep pace.
"They have a really strong transition game," said Mundelein coach Sarah Teipel, a former standout for the Mustangs. "I thought at the beginning we came out flat and kind of shied away from their pressure."
But the Mustangs gained confidence and played even with Prospect in the second quarter. Casey Vyverman, Rylan Foster and Werner combined for the visitors' 12 points.
"We calmed down in the second quarter and started to gain some confidence," Teipel said.
Also scoring in the game for Mundelein was Mila Photopoulos.
Werner finished with a game-high 13 points.
"Gracie is a real tough player for us," Teipel added. "She's one of our best defenders and really does a good job of being aggressive at pressure so I was really happy with her trying to carry her team.
"We've just got to be able to put together four quarters of good defense and be able to play with poise against pressure. We felt we struggled with that a lot tonight. "