Girls Basketball: Benet’s Prasse is Sun Player of the Year
BY NEIL SHALIN For Sun-Times Media March 12, 2013 5:26PM
Christen Prasse (left) of Benet attempts to drive around Shannon Ryan of Naperville Central. Prasse will play basketball for Saint Louis University next season. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 14, 2013 6:03AM
It was a whole new ball game this year for Naperville Sun Girls Basketball Player of the Year Christen Prasse of Benet.
As a sophomore two years ago, Prasse took over as the starting point guard and displayed great court vision, passing ability and the talent for shooting from the perimeter that has become the hallmark of Benet girls basketball.
Last year, her game grew to the point that she was named Naperville Sun Co-Player of the Year, sharing the honor with her older sister Sidney. As it turned out, Christen was still only scratching the surface of her talents.
As a junior, though obviously gifted, Christen was still the little sister, not only to Sidney, but, in essence, to the other seven seniors on the Redwings roster.
This year, the Redwings, who finished the season with a 20-10 record, were Christen Prasse’s team and she responded with a more complete game. As a senior, Christen became “the big sister” on a good team of underclassman who are positioned to carry on and excel without her next year.
“I had to switch gears this year,” said Prasse. “Last year, I looked to my sister to lead me and I looked for her on the court. I was just following in the footsteps of our eight seniors. Then as the year wore on, I started to progress and fit in, and we were all on the same level.”
But as a senior, Christen took over the leadership role.
“As one of the two seniors on this year’s team I could tell the younger kids looked to me,” said Prasse. “I was their role model.”
When Prasse missed the first four games of the season due to injury, her teammates were a little disoriented on the court, but they were forced into playing bigger roles.
Though her absence was obvious, it may have speeded up the young team’s progress.
“Everyone was a new varsity starter,” she said. “They pulled through that and I believe that had a lot to do with our success.”
When the senior returned to the lineup she played an expanded role in Coach Peter Paul’s system.
Prasse, who will be attending Saint Louis University in the fall, averaged 16.8 points per game, shooting 48 percent from the field, including 37 percent from beyond the three-point line. She converted on 78 percent of her free throws, grabbed more than six rebounds a game, dished out three assists and came up with 2.5 steals per game.
She finished her career with 1,019 points.
But the numbers tell only part of the story of why Christen Prasse is Naperville Sun Player of the Year for the second year in a row.
“Chrissie had the ability to play wherever we needed her,” said Paul. “As our best ball-handler she played her natural point guard position. We were susceptible to pressure when she wasn’t in the game. But she was also a shooting guard. Because she was one of our tallest players at 5-foot-10 she also played inside and guarded the other team’s best big player. We used her down low in the zone. She was our second leading rebounder this year.”
“It was a huge change for me,” said Prasse. “Last year I was a point guard and sometimes a shooting guard. But this year, I got to post up and score more baskets inside. Also, if my shot wasn’t falling, or the opportunity opened up, I drove to the hoop a lot more this year. These things will really help me when I play in college. I think I’m more of a well-rounded player.”
She believes the entire Benet team matured as the season went on.
“At the beginning, we had a tendency to force shots,” said Prasse. “But I think we realized that if you want to be a good team you have to work for the best shot and play consistent defense. Once we learned that, we started to click as a team.”
Sophomore Emily Schramek thought Prasse made other contributions to the Redwings game.
“When she was on the court the whole game intensity picked up,” Schramek said. “She is intelligent and has great court sense. She’s always in rhythm and you know that she will always find you with the perfect pass if you’re open. She’s also our best post player and with her long arms, she could steal or tip the ball on defense and then go and get it.”
Schramek also praised her teammate’s leadership qualities.
“Christen is just a good leader overall. She always reminded us that it’s just a game,” said Schramek. “She worked really hard on defense in practice. She cheers everything up. In fact she brought the whole team together. We all knew we could count on her as a friend.”