The Proviso East High School girls’ basketball team won its fourth consecutive regional championship, its eighth regional title and seventh in the last eight years.
The winning of the title came after the Lady Pirates defeated Riverside Brookfield, 52-50, on February 14 in the River Forest Sectionals in the IHSA State Playoffs. It was the culmination of a winning streak that started with a 49-26 win over Reavis on February 11 and continued on February 13 with a 71-64 win over Trinity of River Forest.
The run deep into the sectional playoffs came despite the team finishing the regular season with a 12-13 overall record. Ezra PridGeon, the team’s coach, said that much of the record came from the team’s youth as it returned only two seniors from last year’s team.
"We knew coming into this year, we would be young," he said. "But the talent is there. Those particular nights where we came out and won, we came out on all cylinders."
The magical season came to an end on February 19, when the Lady Pirates lost its next sectional game to St. Ignatius of Chicago, 52-42. Despite the end, Coach PridGeon said that he was hopeful for the future.
"We reached some heights in our season," he said. "I’d say the positives outweighed the negatives. Hopefully it will help us move forward."
Tony Valente, principal at Proviso East, said that the team should be proud of its accomplishment.
"I’m very proud of what they were able to accomplish," he said. "I’m proud of the girls and our coaches."
Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of District 209, expressed similar sentiment.
"We have a lot of talent in this district, both academic and athletic," she said. "This team showed what one can do when it focuses on the task at hand. We need to do more to support them, and we will."