Prairie prepares for Kamiakin

The Prairie Falcons say they are ready after their shootaround Friday prior to their Class 3A state semifinal game against Kamiakin.

The Falcons (26-0) are scheduled to tip off with Kamiakin (19-6) at 3:45 p.m. Friday at the Tacoma Dome.

“Shootaround went OK,” Prairie coach Al Aldridge said. “They are always awkward, though. The kids don’t know at what effort level we want them to be at for the shootarounds.”

Not full speed, but not half-speed, either.

“They sometimes take the term ‘walk-thru’ literally,” Aldridge said with a laugh.

The main reason for the short practice was to learn about the opponent’s tendencies.

“We accomplished what we wanted to do,” Aldridge said. “We have an idea of what they’re going to do offensively so we can defend it.”

Kamiakin beat Glacier Peak 55-50 in overtime in Thursday’s quarterfinal game. Glacier Peak erased a 10-point deficit in the final four minutes to force the extra session, then the Braves ruled in OT.

Rebounding will be key, too, for the Falcons. Kassy Larson had 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Braves. Kaylee Nelson had 13 rebounds for the Braves.

The winner will play the winner of the Holy-Names vs. North Central semifinal. The championship game is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.

More from Prairie’s quarterfinal win: 
Opted to go with the angle of the winning play for most of my game story, but obviously there were big plays throughout the game in order for Prairie to get past Kennedy 46-40.

Angela Gelhar did make the go-ahead basket with 22 seconds left, but she also started the comeback early in the second quarter.

Kennedy had an early nine-point lead. Gelhar made back-to-back 3-pointers to open the second quarter, though, and Prairie was right back in the game.

Andrea Smith, who had her best game of the season the first time Prairie played Kennedy last month, came off the bench and had an immediate impact. The Falcons, not known for their low-post scoring, got the ball inside to Smith, who made a strong move and scored, pulling the Falcons to within two points in the second quarter.

In the third quarter, her offensive rebound led to free throws. She made one, getting Prairie to within a point.

Jackie Lanz only took four shots, but they were all quality shots. She made three 3-pointers and also was perfect from the line with her four attempts for 13 points. And she took another charge and drew another offensive foul in the fourth quarter.

I noted this in the game story. But want to note it again. This game looked very similar to the Prairie-Kennedy game on Feb. 21.

Kennedy led 26-21 at the half in both games. Prairie’s defense was awesome in the second half of both games. Prairie won both games by six points.

Kennedy and Prairie both play aggressive, in-your-face defense. That turns any game they play into a physical battle, with lots of bodies going to the floor.

Every time a Prairie player hit the floor, a Kennedy player was there to help her up. The gesture was appreciated.

“They play real hard,” Prairie senior Angela Gelhar said. “Just like us. We’re aggressive, but we’re not mean.”

Love those seniors:
Jackie Lanz took time during the interview session to praise the seniors. Speaking to Angela Gelhar and Lauren Goecke, she said:

“You guys have inspired us, honestly. You guys motivate us, encourage us, and you lead by example. It influences the entire team.”

Heather Corral update:
Heather Corral had surgery on her torn ACL in her left knee Friday.

“Surgery went great. No surprises,” Prairie coach Al Aldridge said.


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