Girls Basketball: Waubonsie Valley looks for payback against BenetChristen Prasse (3) of Benet Academy and Becky Williford of Waubonsie Valley rub elbows as Williford drives to the hoop. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 20, 2012 8:58PM
Waubonsie Valley’s girls basketball team has lost only twice this season, to Bartlett and Benet.
The Warriors were able to avenge their first loss of the season to Bartlett the second time around in Upstate Eight Valley play in arguably their best game of the season, knocking the Hawks from the ranks of the unbeaten in the process.
Tuesday, Waubonsie will have a chance to get back at Benet for its loss at the McDonald’s Shootout in January. But this time, there is much more on the line.
Benet and Waubonsie, the No. 2 and 3 seeds respectively, face off Tuesday at 8:10 p.m. in the Class 4A Neuqua Valley Sectional semifinals. The 6 p.m. game features the host Wildcats and three-time defending state champion Bolingbrook. The championship game is set for Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
In that 56-37 loss to Benet in January, the Warriors struggled mightily after the half, turning a close game into a blowout quickly.
“It was rough,” Waubonsie senior center Rachael Ross said. “We’re anticipating this game. The third quarter the first time we played them was not good at all. This time, we know what we need to do. We have to play all four quarters and play good basketball to beat them.”
Since the loss to Benet, the Warriors (25-2) have won 10 straight games, including picking up a share of the Upstate Eight Valley title. Benet (23-6) had a 17-game win streak during the season, but the Redwings stumbled at the end of the season, dropping their final two regular-season games to Carmel and Hinsdale South before recovering to win a regional title.
If the Warriors are able to get past Benet the second time around, it would likely set up a showdown with one of the nation’s best teams in Bolingbrook. The Raiders will have to get past Neuqua (23-6) first, but consider these numbers. Let by their eight Division I recruits, including one of the nation’s best in UConn-bound Morgan Tuck and former Waubonsie player Keiera Ray, the Raiders are 17-0 against teams from Illinois this season, and 24-1 overall.
In the 17 wins against Illinois teams, Bolingbrook’s average margin of victory is 51 points. The closest in-state game the Raiders have played this year was a 60-35 win at Homewood-Flossmoor. That is the challenge facing Neuqua in its sectional semifinal game.
“They’re the Yankees,” Neuqua coach Mike Williams said. “You just try to survive. They’re one of the top teams in the country for a reason. I’ve watched them play several times. We’re just going to take a deep breath and see what we can do and try to limit some of the things. I don’t know how you stop it. We’re young and they’re not, and they’re good.”