Multi-Faceted, Methodical Tessa Prellberg Commits to Aurora
Tessa Prellberg’s potential was obvious to Hinckley-Big Rock girls basketball coach Doug Brewington from the outset of her first varsity season.
“When I was a freshman, Brewington told me I was going to get 1,000 points,” Prellberg said. “I never believed him so I just pushed myself to get better.”
Now at 954 points without playing a minute as a senior, the standout Royals player has a chance to quickly eclipse that mark should there be an IHSA season this spring.
Prellberg, who committed to Division III Aurora University on Thursday, January 7, follows in her mother Trisha’s footsteps in playing basketball for the Spartans. Prellberg has seen pictures of her mother’s time on the court for both the Royals and the Spartans, and knows that she and her elder sister Tori (now a soccer player at Waubonsee Community College) both have facets of their mother’s game in their own.
Tessa Prellberg said that when she was a nervous freshman in 2017, Tori and their mother gave Tessa advice about what she should expect on the court.
The younger of the Prellbergs learned from them and developed her own sills. From 3-point shooting, elbow jumpers, rebounding technique, to on-ball defense, Prellberg tends to do well in all facets of the game.
“She does the basics,” Brewington said in an interview. “She does the ordinary more than anyone.”
The one area that perhaps stands out most is in 3-point shooting, where she’s knocked down 114 career triples — good for second in school history. But her name is all over the program’s record book.
Prellberg, sits at No. 13 in program history in scoring, No. 12 in rebounds and No. 6 in steals (290). In the 2019-20 season, Prellberg posted a gaudy stat line of 19.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 4.6 steals and 2 assists per game while earning her second-straight unanimous all-Little Ten Conference honors.
Most importantly for the program, Tessa Prellberg has been part of doubling her team’s victory total each season, from 5 to 10 to 21. According to the senior, the best part about the winning was not only succeeding with teammates, but seeing the buzz from the community as the wins racked up.
“We don’t always get the biggest crowd, but to see everyone coming out and supporting us, it just made us want to come out and play harder,” Prellberg said.
Brewington, a devourer of film who consistently posts practice and game footage to Twitter, is quick to highlight Prellberg’s sense of court vision and instincts honed over many hours of watching film herself. Those tendencies have sharpened her ability to find open space on the floor.
“I had to challenge myself to take different shots,” Prellberg said of defenses focusing on her as a junior. “Challenges from my teammates definitely helped me at making the other moves.”
That commitment has allowed Brewington to focus on developing new aspects to Prellberg’s game, like post work — Prellberg is a 5-7 guard in a small conference.
A conversation Brewington initiated with Prellberg when she was a sophomore stuck in his mind. He broached the idea of whether she had interest in playing college basketball. That was when Brewington started to post more video highlight tapes of Prellberg, as well as his other players.
Though she had some doubts about a future in basketball beyond high school, facing the possibility of her career being curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic lent her new perspective.
“She was still on the fence,” Brewington said. “But I think having the game taken away from her this winter … she’s realized how much she truly loves the game.”
That time without basketball has had its own importance in Prellberg’s mind.
“It’s been really valuable because now looking back at not being able to get in the gym for two months is hard,” Prellberg said. “I miss it.”
Now with a bit more certainty in mind, Prellberg has set her sights on what she can do with a college degree. She wants to get a bachelor’s degree in athletic science, then a master’s in athletic training. She is looking forward to many new things when college begins, both on and off the court.
“Getting a lot of different opportunities, meeting a lot of friends and just growing my skill,” she said.