Trinity’s Prochaska looks to step up in shooting role
River Forest- Girls basketball game: Trinity vs. Proviso West . Lauren Prochaska is horse collared as she drives to the hoop.| Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 30, 2012 3:04PM
RIVER FOREST — This season, Lauren Prochaska isn’t going to second guess an open shot.
The Trinity point guard knows her role has expanded from a distributor to a shooter, especially after the team graduated its all-time leading scorer Megan Podkowa, who currently plays at DePaul.
“She knew that she had to take a little different role,” varsity coach Eddie Stritzel said. “Lauren, she has always played point guard since Day One. But we’re looking for more of an offense from her because last year we had Megan.”
Trinity ended last season 30-2, with both losses coming from 2011 state champion Whitney Young.
The last time the two teams met was in the Class 4A sectionals, when the Blazers fell to the Dolphins 50-45. The memories of that game are engraved in Prochaska’s head and keep her motivated to work on her shots.
“Definitely, won’t forget,” the junior said. “We always stay focused. We’re never going to settle for anything. We weren’t happy with the results of that game, so we’re always working to get better.”
Last season, Prochaska averaged six points and three assists. In her first two games last week, Prochaska posted 15 points in each. In addition, she had nine assists in the team’s 75-50 win over Oak Park-River Forest and seven in its 56-40 win over Proviso West.
“Lauren is lightening quick,” Stritzel said. “She’s the fastest thing on the floor. No one can stay with her. They try to press her, and she rolls by it.”
The seventh-year head coach added that Prochaska has had numerous scholarship offers and meshes well with the other girls on the court.
Prochaska has started with all three returning seniors, each providing the junior a variety of scoring options. With them, she’s experienced two of the program’s six regional championships.
But this year, the team believes it has a strong chance at making a deeper run in the bracket. The Blazers entered this season ranked No. 2 by Season’s Pass.
“We all have one common goal, and that’s to go downstate,” Stritzel said. “I think they know that I’m not going to micromanage them. I’m going to let them play.”
Senior Shannon McGinnis, who will play on scholarship at McKendree, said she’d like to get a state championship her last year.
“We’re really gelling as a team,” the 5-foot-11 forward said. “We have a different team now. We used to have more plays in the front court, but now we just run and press and it’s a different situation.”
For that trip downstate to happen, Prochaska is still going to do what she does best — penetrate and dish the ball, but with an added element.
She plays club with Chicago Hoops Express, summer leagues with Trinity and adds some running to stay conditioned. This offseason, she put in the extra workouts to perfect her game because she’s aware of the prize.
“My ball handling as a point guard really isn’t where it should be, (so) I’ve been working with my coaches on my shooting and especially with my ball handling,” Prochaska said. “You got to stay in shape, so I’ve been playing nonstop. It never ends.”