STERLING – Brooke Remley's name probably wouldn't have been the first that people listed as a potential star going into Thursday's Three Rivers tussle between Prophetstown and Newman.
The 5-foot, 7-inch junior forward is more of a role player on a talented Prophets squad, but when she got her chance against the Comets, she took it. Actually, she took it twice.
Remley hit consecutive 3-pointers – one at the end of the first quarter and the other at the start of the second – that turned the tide permanently in the favor of the Prophets in a 56-33 win.
The victory gives the Prophets sole possession of first place in the Three Rivers. They are 6-0 in the conference. They hold victories over both of their closest competitors in Newman (6-1) and Riverdale (4-1).
"Winning conference is one of our big goals," Prophetstown guard Cassie Reiley said. "We tied for it last year, and this year we want to win it outright. This was very important for us to come out and get this win with the Riverdale game on Saturday and Newman again next week."
The Prophets (18-2) jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the first quarter thanks to 3-pointers by Cassie Reiley and younger sister Corrie, but the Comets fought back.
Kayci Howell hit a 3-pointer, and after a Prophetstown score, buckets by Sara Nysather, Jaimie Hurd and Aubree Schmitt tied the score at 11.
With just over a minute left in the quarter, Prophetstown's Riley Walters hit sophomore forward Clare Kramer on a back cut for an easy bucket. Walters finished with five assists, three of them on that same play to Kramer.
"Once we get that going, we like to keep going to it," Kramer said.
Rachel Hageman, who had left earlier in the quarter after suffering a minor leg injury, scored off an assist by Schmitt with 25 seconds left.
That's when it became Remley's time to shine. She had entered the game earlier in the quarter after junior Karli Stafford had picked up her second foul.
The Prophets rushed the ball up court, worked it around the key, and it came to Remley, who nailed the 3-pointer at the buzzer. Prophetstown led 16-13.
She extended the lead out by six to start the second quarter by hitting another.
"I think we all started to play harder after that because she was so excited about hitting those shots," Kramer said. "It was fun, and I think it made us more ready to play."
"We've been struggling to hit shots," Newman coach Jay Howell said. "Even the close ones have been tough. So I think it really took it out of us when we had to work so hard for points, and then to have them come down and hit a 3 like that. It was definitely the turning point of the game."
Newman closed the score to within two points at 19-17, but the Prophets closed the quarter on a 9-4 run to go up 28-19.
The second and third quarters also both ended with Prophetstown scoring at the buzzer. Cydney Westen made a short-range jumper to end the second quarter.
Cassie Reiley closed out a personal 4-0 run in the third quarter with a steal at one end of the court and a one-handed runner on the other end at the buzzer.
"We try to score every possession, but we know how important it is to finish quarters strong like that," Reiley said. "Tonight, we really used those possessions to pull away and put pressure on Newman."
Reiley finished with 18 points, five steals and three assists. Kramer had 12 points. Walters was held to seven points and only one field goal, but she also led the team with six rebounds and five assists.
Hageman paced Newman (10-7) with 11 points. Mary Alice Oswalt had eight points.
Newman controlled the boards early and finished with a 29-22 advantage.
"We felt like we had to dominate on the boards," Howell said. "But, we had too many turnovers , and they only had nine. Credit them because we knew that's what they wanted to do. Once they started doing that, they dictated the pace of the game. Going 1-for-11 from the free throw line doesn't help either."
Star of the game: Cassie Reiley, Prophetstown, 18 points, 5 steals, 3 assists
Key performers: Clare Kramer, Prophetstown, 12 points; Riley Walters, Prophetstown, 7 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists; Rachel Hageman, Newman, 11 points, 5 rebounds
Up next: Prophetstown at Riverdale, 6:30 p.m. Saturday; Bureau Valley at Newman, 6:30 p.m. Saturday