PORT BYRON – Riverdale found something against its rival last Saturday in the Prophetstown tournament championship, and it surfaced again in Saturday night’s rematch.
With the season series tied 1-1, Riverdale beat Prophetstown 43-42 in Three Rivers Conference play. The victory was fueled by a costly Prophetstown technical foul in a fourth-quarter comeback.
“Everything was even except the free throws,” Riverdale coach Mick Kopriva said. “We made one more than they did. Hannah and Jess were a nice combination on the pick and roll, and that kept us in the ball game. We were struggling offensively, and they found something that worked for them.”
Riverdale (15-2, 5-1 TRAC-9) went into the fourth trailing the Prophets (18-3, 6-1 TRAC-9) 36-30. From there, seniors Jess Corson and Hannah Nimrick took over. Corson and Nimrick combined for the Rams’ next nine points, giving the hosts a 39-38 lead.
In the midst of the comeback, Prophetstown’s Karli Stafford received a technical foul for unsportsmanlike conduct after fouling Nimrick with less than 3 minutes remaining. Nimrick hit two free throws to pull the Rams to within 38-37.
Both teams scored 37 points from the field. Riverdale shot 6-for-9 at the free-throw line, and Prophetstown was 5-for-12.
Nimrick led the Rams with 15 points and seven rebounds. Corson scored 12 points, and Sydney Mericle added 10.
For most of the Rams’ comeback, Nimrick had to play with four fouls.
“I just needed to know to calm down,” Nimrick said. “I couldn’t get the fifth foul, because I wanted to play. I just had to move my feet, play defense and stop reaching like I was before.”
With 28 seconds to play, Elle May gave Riverdale a 43-40 lead with two free throws, her only points of the night.
Clare Kramer, who led the Lady Prophets with 20 points, hit a jumper with 5 seconds left to make it a one-point game.
May was fouled on the ensuing inbounds pass but missed the front end of a one-and-one. Prophetstown retrieved the rebound, but did not have enough time to get off a shot.
“I didn’t coach very well,” Prophetstown coach Don Robinson said. “We played with enough defensive energy to win the game, and for that I’m proud of my team. They’re a good team, so give credit to Riverdale.”
Corrie Reiley added 13 for the Lady Prophets. Riley Walters had six rebounds.
“We had to pick up our defense and just play our game,” Nimrick said. “Coming back out and playing them again was kind of hard. Playing any team three times and beating them again coming off of a win over them is tough.”