Making the switch from playing like a talented group of individuals to playing like a team has done wonders for the Prairie Central High School girls basketball team.
The Hawks take a three-game winning streak, a 13-6 overall record and a 5-2 Corn Belt Conference mark to Eureka (4-8, 1-6) tonight.
"Our mentality has changed to that of a team with people accepting roles, gelling at the right time," said third-year Coach Andy Shelby, whose team defeated Central Catholic Monday for the first time in four years.
Shelby rates that result on a par with last year's sectional upset of Ottawa Marquette.
"Physically, I tell the girls that we work harder than anyone in the state in practice," Shelby said. "That might not be true, but the girls believe it."
Beating the Hawks means shutting down more people than just standout Jara Bachtold, who averages 14.2 points.
"Kiley Corban has hit some perimeter shots and demonstrated some on-the-court leadership that was desperately needed," Shelby said. "Kendra Branch and Rachel Sheppard are starting to get better in the post offensively and defensively."
Prairie Central hosts league-leading Mahomet-Seymour (13-4, 6-1) Monday.
"We are just hoping they have an off night shooting and we can live off of their turnovers," Shelby said. "They are well-coached and fundamentally sound. We want to keep it close and maybe squeak one out."
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Pontiac gets hot
Monday's 63-52 victory over Eureka in which Ashley Timmerman scored 34 points was Pontiac's sixth win in its past seven games.
The 9-6 Indians take a 4-2 Corn Belt record to Mahomet-Seymour today.
"We are playing halfway decent right now," said fourth-year Coach Gary Brunner, whose leaders are Erin Halloran (15.3 ppg) and Timmerman (11.9 ppg).
Amanda Sartoris had been contributing more in recent games until suffering an ankle injury Monday.
"She gives the other team somebody else to guard and leaves Ashley and Erin open to score," said Brunner, whose team is on a five-game winning streak.
Mount Pulaski's Oglesby grand
Kim Oglesby, a 5-foot-9 senior forward, is scoring well for Mount Pulaski (8-12) on the court and in the classroom. She has 1,008 career points and ranks "No. 1 or 2" in her class academically, according to second-year Coach Brandon Stone.
"She's a good post player," he said. "She has improved a lot in the post from last year with her moves and her footwork. She does get to the line quite a bit. She is pretty hard to stop."
Oglesby, who shoots 70 percent at the free throw line, ranks second in the Pantagraph area in scoring at 18.5 per game. Her single-game high is 29 points. She is the area's co-leader in rebounding at 10.4 per game.