PROPHETSTOWN – On Nov. 24, Prophetstown overcame a 13-point deficit with less than 6 minutes left in a 51-49 overtime win over Riverdale. Saturday, Hannah Nimrick and the Rams would not let it happen again.
Nimrick, the reigning Three Rivers Conference player of the year, spearheaded a 46-29 win in the championship game of the Prophetstown tournament. She blocked seven shots, altered several others and scored 15 points.
“That was our motivation,” said Nimrick, referring to the Nov. 24 loss. “We had to play good defense and frustrate their guards. We got up in their face.”
With 1 second left in the first, the Prophets (17-2) took a timeout before inbounding under the Rams’ basket.
Prophetstown’s Riley Walters took the ball out and threw it off Nimrick, whose back was turned. Walters got off a shot but was soundly rejected by Nimrick.
Turning to the Riverdale fan section, Nimrick said something to the effect of – that’s not going to happen.
“She normally doesn’t guard me,” said Walters, who was limited to seven points after scoring a game-high 20 in the first meeting. “It’s a whole different story when you have Hannah on you. She kind of shut me down. It was a bummer.”
Down by five after a first quarter that saw Clare Kramer (5 points, 5 rebounds) pick up three fouls, the Prophets heated up to start the second quarter.
Prophetstown opened the period with a 13-0 tear to go up 20-12. The Reiley sisters scored the last 10 points of the flurry. First, Corrie Reiley (team-high 8 points) hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Cassie (5 points) followed with a 3 from the right wing. Corrie added a bucket off a steal and Cassie a second-chance field goal.
As hot as the Prophets were for the first half of the second quarter, they were twice as frigid the rest of the way, scoring nine points of the last 19-plus minutes.
“I can’t believe we just lost by that much,” Corrie Reiley said. “It was embarrassing. They kept stealing it, we’d rush a shot and miss, they’d come back and make it. It was like the same process over and over again.”
Riverdale (14-2) outscored Prophetstown 27-7 in the second half. Still, it was a five-point game late in the third quarter. But, the Rams used a 13-0 blitz to put the game away.
“We got fatigued,” Prophets coach Don Robinson said. “Four games in three days. The last time, we picked up the defensive pressure. This time, the tank was mostly empty.”
The Rams also got 15 points from Sydney Mericle, 10 from Lauren Claus and six from Jess Corson, who missed the first meeting due to injury.
Star of the game: Hannah Nimrick, Riverdale, 15 points, 7 blocks
Key performers: Sydney Mericle, Riverdale, 15 points; Lauren Claus, Riverdale, 10 points; Corrie Reiley, Prophetstown, 8 points
Up next: Prophetstown at Newman, 7:30 p.m. Thursday