Girls Basketball: Prairie Ridge edges Dundee-CrownDundee Crown's Ali Sanders dribbles past Prarie Ridge's Amber Kotecki on Wednesday in Dundee. | Karen Naess ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 25, 2012 9:46PM
Prairie Ridge girls coach Julie Bemis resigned for personal reasons last Thursday, but that didn’t stop the Wolves from throwing a major wrench into Dundee-Crown’s hopes for a Fox Valley Valley title in Wednesday’s game.
The Wolves turned up the defensive intensity after halftime and held the first-place Chargers to three second-half field goals in coming away with a 44-41 road victory.
“Our kids are playing through a lot of adversity,” interim coach Jeff Boldog said. “When you lose your coach three quarters of the way through the season, that’s tough.
“So we’re just going to focus on our team. We can’t control what happened in the past. We’re moving forward together as a unit.”
The Wolves (8-12, 3-6) used their quickness at guard with Brianne Fenton and Haleigh Danek matching up on the Chargers’ strength — guards Carlin Faulkner and Ali Sanders. They disrupted the Chargers’ entire offense the second half, forged a tie at 39 on Danek’s short shot after a D-C backcourt turnover with 4:22 left, then went ahead for good with 1:37 to play, 42-39, on a three-pointer by Danek.
“They had a lot more intensity,” Chargers coach Michelle Russell said. “We just need to handle the ball a little better and we’ve got to be able to apply things we’re learning and make those corrections at mid-game.”
The Chargers managed only 12 second-half points, shot 18 percent (3-of-17) from the field in the second half and made eight fourth-quarter turnovers.
They still had a chance to tie it at the end. Sanders, who finished with 12 points, made 1-of-2 foul shots with 1:03 left to get D-C within 42-40, then had a chance to tie it with two free throws after Diamond Williams’ steal with 41 seconds remaining. However, she missed the second free throw.
Kelsey Bear got loose for a breakaway on the inbounds pass for Prairie Ridge, drew a foul and sank both free throws. Then Faulkner, who led D-C (14-8, 7-2) with 15 points, missed a three-pointer from the wing with four seconds remaining and the Chargers dropped into second place behind Cary-Grove.
“Ali battled through double teams and was trying to get through that, but it’s tough,” Russell said. “They did a good job on her, so it’s a tough loss. Give them credit, they played hard tonight.”
D-C, which normally lives by the three-pointer, was 0-for-5 from that range in the first half but still led 29-24 and appeared to have control of the game until Prairie Ridge’s backcourt pressure started causing problems. D-C went 6:50 of the third quarter without scoring, but pulled ahead 36-31 on Faulkner’s three-pointer and Sanders’ two foul shots.
The Chargers led 39-33 2 1/2 minutes into the fourth quarter before Prairie Ridge’s Kelsey Aldridge hit a couple layups, one on a rebound, and then Danek tied it on her shot after a backcourt steal.
Danek had 11 points, including three free throws on a three-shot foul to end the first half. Sarah LeBeau had eight points for Prairie Ridge.
“At halftime I said defense is going to win this game,” Boldog said. “That’s a really great ballclub we played.
“The best team doesn’t always win, but it’s the best team that plays like a team.”
D-C still plays first-place Cary-Grove.
“This could have been more of a cushion game for us,” said Russell. “Now we’re going to have to learn from our mistakes and play harder as a team.”