When the St. Francis de Sales girls basketball team struggled in midseason, Isis Mance knew the Pioneers couldn't let what was to be a promising season slip away.
With all five starters back, this was supposed to be their year, but a tough schedule and a few potholes in the road had the Pioneers under .500.
"She is that role model," coach Terrence Streater said. "Isis wasn't going to let that bother her, and she got the girls together and kept them focused.
"She kind of has that easy-going personality and I think that helped," Streater added. "She came in and told me no matter what, 'Coach, our job is to go out and play basketball and play hard.' That shows you what kind of kid she is."
Mance, who is averaging 12 points and 11 rebounds per game, said it was a matter of keeping her focus.
"We had worked hard together and we couldn't let it get away from us," Mance said. "My job as a senior was to keep us together and not let the girls get down on themselves."
St. Francis de Sales advanced to the Class 2A Chicago Christian Sectional last year, falling to Aurora Christian in the championship. The Pioneers won their third straight regional title Thursday, beating host Chicago University. St. Francis de Sales will play Mount Assisi at 7:30 p.m. Monday in one semifinal of the Seton Academy Sectional.
"We are coming together at the right time and we are going to be ready," Mance said. "We want to get to supersectionals, but we know we have two tough games to play (before the supersectional)."