CRYSTAL LAKE - Prairie Ridge’s girls basketball team knew it passed two big tests last week when the Wolves beat perennial contenders Crystal Lake South and Cary-Grove.
Jacobs presented a two-part challenge Monday. The Golden Eagles had been playing better than their record indicated, and the Wolves hadn’t had much time to prepare since they played C-G on Saturday and did not practice on Sunday.
The matchup was exactly the exam Wolves coach Rob Baker hoped it would be. Prairie Ridge came out with tenacity immediately in 57-31 win against Jacobs in Fox Valley Conference Valley Division play.
“I was a little scared tonight,” Baker said. “You hope there isn’t any (letdown) after wins like that and the girls responded very well. To come out on a Monday without a practice and play the way we did, I was very happy with how we handled it.”
Jacobs led 4-2 in the first two minutes, but Wolves senior guard Sarah LeBeau came off a low screen and drained the first of her four 3-pointers to make it 5-4. The shot started an 18-point run that included four points from sophomore forward Kirsten Voel-Pel (14 points), two from senior center Maddie Drain (13 points) and six more from LeBeau (game-high 16 points).
“We have a lot of fight,” LeBeau said. “We knew we were going to be underdogs this year because we graduated a lot of good players, but we’re never going to give up and we showed that tonight.”
Prairie Ridge (5-3 overall, 3-0 FVC Valley) led 22-9 at the end of the first quarter and extended its lead to 30-14 with back-to-back threes from LeBeau and junior guard Kelly Klendworth with 2:17 left in the second quarter. The Wolves advantage swelled to 20 points, 37-17, at halftime.
Jacobs (2-7, 1-1) was more patient in the second half and picked at the Wolves’ zone defense, breaking it enough for junior guard Glenita Williams to run in a layup 1 minute into the third. But the Wolves used an 8-1 run to go ahead 45-20 and all but put the game away.
Jacobs’ shooting woes didn’t help. The Eagles shot 26 percent - 9 for 35 - from the field while the Wolves shot 45 percent (23 for 51).
“It was just one of those nights where we lacked some energy and passion to play the game the right way,” Jacobs coach Joe Benoit said. “We know in this conference if you don’t shoot well it’s going to be a long night.”