Girls Basketball: The Prasse sisters played different roles in leading Benet to 25-7 record

Story Image The Prasse sisters, Sidney, left, and Christen, right are this years Naperville Sun Girls Basketball Co-Player of the year on Wednesday, March 7, 2012. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media

Naperville Sun Girls Basketball All-Area Team, PAGE 46

Updated: March 10, 2012 6:30PM

The Prasse sisters made it difficult for opponents this year, just about as difficult as it was for the The Naperville Sun to choose one over the other as the Player of the Year.

So this year’s award for the top girls basketball player in the area is shared by Co-Players of the Year — Benet’s Sidney Prasse and Christen Prasse.

The Prasses led the Redwings to a 25-7 record and a trip to the Neuqua Valley Sectional final in a season that started off a little bumpy but included an 18-game winning streak.

Sidney Prasse, a 5-foot-9 senior, who played a combination shooting guard and small forward, led the team in scoring with a 14.9 average, while junior Christen Prasse, a 5-foot-10 junior, averaged 13 ppg and emerged as one of the top point guards in the state.

Opponents set their defenses to try to combat Sidney’s deadly outside shooting, while Christen’s ability to go to the hoop and to find her open teammates gave the Redwings’ offense its balance and efficiency.

“Sidney was the person whose number we called when we needed the critical shot,” said Benet coach Peter Paul. “As a co-captain, she was our quiet leader and, along with our other co-captain Nicole Valentine, our hardest worker.

“Chrissie is much more vocal. She became the most important spoke in our wheel as the season went on. We needed her in the game to run the offense.”

That 18-game winning streak was a turnaround for the Redwings, who got off to a 4-4 start.

“After that rough start the team talked about how we needed to step up and play our game,” said Christen. “We’re a quick, scrappy team that depends on defense and shooting. We knew we weren’t tall enough to outrebound other teams. Once we realized how we needed to play, everything clicked.”

“It was important that Mr. Paul believed in us this year,” said Sidney. “He had us working really hard in practice and really got the message home that we would have to work together to form a fist and not just play as five fingers.”

The girls come by their basketball skills naturally as both parents, Mary Carol and Mike, were high school players. Mike started coaching the girls in a park district league when they were four and five.

“We always got Christen to play up to the next grade level so they could be on the same team,” said Mary Carol. “They’ve been teammates in park district, school leagues and AAU. It was a thrill the past two years to watch them play together for Benet.”

Sidney Prasse was a starter as a sophomore on the Benet varsity.

“I was a little timid,” said Sidney. “Shooting has been my strength since grade school, and my dad always told me to forget about it if I miss. Keep shooting and the next one will fall, and also to follow my shot to get extra chances. As a junior I became more confident.”

One important skill that Sidney brings to the table is the ability to stay composed in tight situations.

“When the game is on the line pressure doesn’t bother me,” she said. “One of the keys to being a good basketball player is to stay calm and collected under pressure,” she said. “My hope is for that attitude to rub off on our other players.

“Sidney has an amazing ability to handle the pressure,” said Christen. “Whether she’s shooting a basket, driving the lane or making a steal, we feed off that. Even in practice she maintains a high level of spirit.”

Sidney Prasse finished her Benet career with 987 points scoring 479 as a senior. She will be playing ball at St. Xavier next year.

She believes the success Benet had this year was due to outstanding team chemistry.

“We know each other well,” said Sidney. “We hang out together and we know how to pick each other up. We’ve all been close friends for a long time.”

Christen scored 429 points as a junior and Paul predicts she will go over the 1,000 mark next year.

She also admits to having been tentative as a sophomore when she came off the bench. But, there was a radical difference in her game this year which improved after an off-season of hard work.

“Last year it took me a while to get settled,” said Christen, who grew three inches from her sophomore year. “This year, I was able to move into the point guard role and I played fearless. My parents and my sister encouraged me to just play the way I knew how to play. At point guard you’re like a quarterback, you run the plays and you make sure that everyone is running it right. This year I was able to see the whole court and got the ball to the right people.”

Christen is starting to receive attention from Division I colleges.

“While Sidney is a great shooter and Christen has developed into a top-flight point guard, they both contribute in multiple ways,” Paul said. “They can both go after the ball on the boards and they play big roles in our defense which was so important to our success this year.”

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