Elite Sophomore Prospect Abby Prohaska Shoots, Scores, Saves

Courtesy Jenny Walters

Forget her 7.2 points and 6.5 rebounds rebounds per game for Lakota West. Coach Andy Fishman says he sees Abby Prohaska do something amazing every game.

Abby Prohaska could sense something wasn't quite right with her little brother as they trekked to a field to watch their sister's soccer game. Luke, who had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes a year earlier, was dragging his feet. And he wasn't exactly walking in a straight line, either.

"I got this weird feeling," said Prohaska, a 5-foot-10 sophomore shooting guard at Lakota West (West Chester, Ohio). "So I screamed loud enough for my mom to come running. I was holding him up to make sure he didn't fall asleep."

Luke was 6 at the time; Abby was 13. Old enough to realize and react when Luke's blood-sugar levels had dropped perilously low.

"She picked up on it before I did," mom Melissa said. "I thought Luke was just tired because it was a long walk to the soccer field. But Abby recognized that his behavior was different."

Melissa injected her "emergency sugar shot," called Glucagon, into Luke's stomach and called 911. Luke was not hospitalized, though, because his levels rose immediately.

This past Saturday, Prohaska's Lakota West team, which was hoping to win a second straight state title, got knocked off in a regional final, losing 49-30 to Mason, a team it had beaten twice this year.

Prohaska had 13 points at halftime but fouled out with four minutes left in the game. She finished with a team-high 15 points, but that didn't ease the disappointment of missing out on a trip to the Ohio State campus for the state tournament.

It was a bummer for Luke, who is now 9, as well.

Courtesy Jenny Walters

Abby Prohaska has never met a loose ball she wouldn't dive for.

"Before the game, he was saying, 'Abby, can you please win? OSU has a great concession stand.'

"After the game, he told me it was OK. He said he wasn't worried about the concession stand. I was emotional. I was crying. But Luke lightened the situation. A smile came across my face."

Abby has been making college scouts smile for a while now. She has offers from a bunch, including Ohio State, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Florida State, Michigan State, Minnesota, Iowa State and Northwestern.

Prohaska, who is left-handed, averaged 7.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.1 steals in 17.0 minutes. But those statistics don't do her game justice. For starters, consider that in her team's final three playoff games she averaged 14.3 points and 7.7 rebounds while shooting 60 percent from the floor.

Then there's her determination.

"If you take a typical above-average kid who plays hard, you would need to throw a souped-up 350 engine on top of that to match Abby's effort level," Lakota West coach Andy Fishman said.

"She can jump over 6-2 girls and grab rebounds, dive on the floor for a loose ball, throw a full-length baseball pass on the money, catch the ball like a wide receiver. ... She's a do-everything player.

If you take a typical above-average kid who plays hard, you would need to throw a souped-up 350 engine on top of that to match Abby's effort level."
Andy Fishman on Abby Prohaska

"Every game, she does something you don't think is possible like diving into the stands to get a loose ball. She has an insatiable desire to win."

There is a down side to all this. Prohaska, who has a 3.9 GPA and wants to double major in journalism and communications, plays so hard that she tends to get injured.

In the summer of her eighth-grade year, she missed six weeks of AAU ball after she ran into a teammate and suffered a concussion. This past fall, she competed in soccer for the first time as a high school athlete and developed a stress fracture in her left leg that caused her to miss eight games during basketball season.

Prohaska is a high-scoring striker in soccer, but she had given up the sport in eighth grade so she could devote more time to basketball.

"I'm dead-set on playing college basketball," she said. "But it was unbelievably fun playing soccer [this fall]. I wasn't trying to play for my future. There was nothing like that on the line. I was just playing with my friends, giving it my all."

Having fun is something she said she learned from Luke. Along with 13-year-old sister Maddie, a goalie on travel soccer teams, the Prohaska kids often play soccer and basketball in the family basement.

Melissa lets them go at it as long as she doesn't hear any cries.

Courtesy Melissa Prohaska

There's a reason the Prohaska basement is light on furniture.

"I can hear them hitting walls," Melissa said. "It gets pretty physical."

Dad Tom Prohaska, a former Division II linebacker at Ashland University, said he's grateful there's no furniture in the basement.

"When it's cold outside, they go down there and tear things up," he said. "I think that's why she dives for loose balls so much.

"Against Lakota East, she went into the seating where our bench was and knocked over chairs. I was like, 'Oh God, please tell me she gets up from that'."

She did, of course.

And today the whole family is gearing up for Abby's 16th birthday. She plans to celebrate by taking -- and passing -- her driver's test and then going to dinner with her family. As usual, she will keep a close watch on Luke.

"He's someone I look up to in many ways," Prohaska said. "He is extremely close to me. He is a best friend."

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