Created:Tuesday, December 10, 2013 8:26 p.m.CDT
Updated:Wednesday, December 11, 2013 9:52 a.m.CDT
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Inside Girls Basketball: Prairie Ridge's Maddie Drain Athlete of the Week

Prairie Ridge's Maddie Drain pulls down a rebound during the second half against Crystal Lake South on Dec. 3 at South. (Lathan Goumas – lgoumas@shawmedia.com)

Maddie Drain

Prairie Ridge, sr.

Drain delivered two big performances to lead the upstart Wolves to two Fox Valley Conference Valley Division wins. The senior center scored 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in Prairie Ridge’s win against Crystal Lake South and followed that performance with a 21-point, 15-rebound game in a win against Cary-Grove on Friday.

Noteworthy

Thunder await Darling: Opponents have yet to get a glimpse of how good Woodstock North’s offense can really be.

The Thunder have been without junior guard Kristy Darling, who is working back from ACL surgery on her right knee. Woodstock North coach Mike Lewis said Darling should be able to play in a couple of weeks, though they aren’t rushing her back. Lewis wants Darling to be at full strength when she gets on the court.

With Darling in the lineup, the Thunder will become even more dangerous on the perimeter. Darling would give Woodstock North another 3-point shooter, in addition to junior guard Ashley Jones and sophomore guard Samantha Zieman, while complementing the inside presence of sophomore center Haley Ahr.

“She's going to be one of the best shooters in the area, I think,” Lewis said of Darling. "She can load it up with the best of them. Having her on a wing with Ashley Jones, it'll be real hard to double-down on Haley. They've started to do it a little bit. I'll welcome that."

South still without Nolan: Crystal Lake South continues to play without junior starting forward Carly Nolan.

Nolan hasn't played since Nov. 23 against Hononegah, missing the past five games with an undisclosed injury. South coach Kyle McCaughn said he hopes they will have news on her injury Friday. Without the athletic Nolan in the lineup, the Gators have been missing one of their best rebounders and another solid presence in the paint.

Wolves start strong: Prairie Ridge had trouble finishing games last year and watched too many first-half leads evaporate.

This season, however, the Wolves opened the FVC Valley with three wins, including against two teams expected to compete for the division title. Prairie Ridge handled Crystal Lake South on the road for a 44-38 victory and then beat Cary-Grove, 67-53, for the first time in more than 13 years.

This week’s top games

Huntley at Chicago Whitney Young

8 p.m. Friday

The Red Raiders take on last year’s Class 4A state third-place team, one of the most consistently talented programs in the state. It represents a great chance for Huntley to see how its stacks up against one of the state’s best.

Prairie Ridge at Huntley

7 p.m. Saturday

The only two teams with unblemished FVC Valley Division records square off with the winner taking sole possession of first place.

– Meghan Montemurro

mmontemurro@shawmedia.com