Prospect’s Taylor Will scored early and often while Catherine Sherwood did most of the dirty work Friday at Wheeling.
Will had 20 points, including nine of the Knights’ final 14 points of the first half, and Sherwood added 13 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks as No. 14 Prospect defeated Wheeling 44-33 in the Mid-Suburban East.
Will’s 14 first-half points were more than Wheeling could muster as a team, allowing the Knights (9-0, 3-0) to build a 23-10 halftime lead.
“I thought our defense in the first half was excellent,” Prospect coach Ashley Graham said. “To hold that team to 10 points was very good defense. The kids followed the scouting report, Taylor did good job on [Wheeling’s Deanna] Kuzmanic in that first half and we had kids step up to help her.
“I don’t think you can ever stop a Kuzmanic. She’s an excellent player, and you watch her out there, she has range, she warms up so hard and she works so hard. She does so much for that team. I thought our kids did a good job on her as best we could.”
The second half was a different story, however. Wheeling (7-3, 1-2), which trailed 27-12 early in the third quarter, closed to within 29-19 on a basket by Hannah Dobrowski. A 3-pointer by Kuzmanic got the Wildcats within 40-33 with 59.4 seconds remaining, but Wheeling could get no closer.
“Their defense gave us some trouble in the second half,” Will said. “They rotated really well on the bottom. When we got good backdoor cuts, they were there. It also hurt us a little bit because we weren’t hitting from the outside like we usually do so they were guarding us pretty tight.
“I think we overcame it pretty well though. We sucked it up.”
Nikki Matters added 10 points for Prospect.
“Sherwood was just a monster on the boards,” Graham said. “She did a lot of nice things offensively and great things defensively.”
Kuzmanic led Wheeling with 16 points and Dobrowski had eight.“We weren’t playing good team offense,” Wheeling coach Matt Weber said. “We were rushing shots, we weren’t making the extra pass, we weren’t setting good screens. We were just out of control and we weren’t working together.
“Defensively, we were working together. But there are two parts of the game in basketball, and we were only executing half of it.”