PROPHETSTOWN – There were not many highs for the Newman Comets on Thursday night, as they dropped a Three Rivers North game to the Prophetstown Prophets, 47-21.
Going up against a well-oiled machine in the Prophets, Newman had its hands full from the get-go. Newman junior Julie Hurd secured the only lead of the night for the Comets, making a 10-footer for the first two points of the game.
Apparently this did not sit well with Prophetstown (6-1, 2-0), which then went on a 24-0 run. The epitome of team basketball, the Prophets didn’t rely on a star during the surge, but instead had all five players contributing to the cause.
Junior Clare Kramer took over down low, as she went a perfect 5-for-5 from the block area.
Senior Karlie Strafford keyed the Prophets’ rebounding effort, in addition to chipping in a bucket here and there.
And junior Corrie Reiley ran the show up top, directing traffic and picking apart Newman’s zone defense from her point guard position.
“Those are roles that they have kind of been in for the past couple years,” Prophetstown coach Don Robinson said. “The team believes in each other, whoever is on the floor together. The key for me is just to put the pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle.”
On the other side of the ball, the Prophets played tough defense, but the Comets found a way to control the tempo early on, thanks to careful ball movement and patience.
Though the opportunities presented themselves, however, the ball would not bounce Newman’s way. The Comets put up 20 shots in the first half, but only three found their way through the net.
“Newman’s really disciplined, and they ran their offense very patiently,” Robinson said. “We had to hang in there defensively and play defense for a really long time. They were controlling the tempo, and I think that was the key early.”
Prophetstown took full advantage of the poor shooting night for the Comets, eventually taking control of the tempo with a tight full-court press
Reiley and classmate Heather Strike overwhelmed the Comets in the backcourt, with Reiley picking up three of her game-high five steals to open the second half. This led to four easy points for Reiley, who ended up with 14 points.
“My role is mainly defense,” Reiley said. “The last 2 years, my sister [Cassie] has usually been the scorer for us, but now that she’s gone, I think my offenesive role has picked up. Same thing with Clare; her offense has improved, and I look to make assists to her.
“Pushing the ball is also something I do, because that creates steals.”
With 2 minutes left until half, Hurd made another jumper to finally stop the Prophets run. It proved to not be enough, as the damage had already been done. Prophetstown went into halftime with a 29-6 lead.
Out of the break, the unselfish team play helped the Prophets string together another run, as four different players combined to score five baskets. This more than put the game out of reach for the Comets as, once again, every role was filled on the floor for the Prophets, a benefit of their core playing together for years.
“We played pretty well,” said Kramer. who finished 7-for-7 from the field for 14 points, to go with four rebounds. “I always look forward to games, because we have played together since fifth grade, and we continue to play well together. I’m proud of us for doing that tonight.”
A 3-pointer by Newman senior Mary Alice Oswalt midway through the third quieted the Prophets briefly and sparked the Comets, who started to knock down shots. Another layup by Oswalt broke Newman into double digits. However, it would not be enough, as the first-half hole had been dug too deep.
Oswalt led that second-half charge by the Comets, scoring all of her team high nine points in the last two quarters. Hurd added seven points, nine rebounds and three steals.
Prophetstown 47, Newman 21
Star of the game: Corrie Reiley, Prophetstown, 13 points, 5 steals
Key performers: Clare Kramer, Prophetstown, 14 points, 7-for-7 FGs, 4 rebounds; Julie Hurd, Newman, 7 points, 9 rebounds. 3 steals; Mary Alice Oswalt, Newman, 9 points
Up next: Morrison at Newman, 7 p.m. Monday; Riverdale at Prophetstown, 7 p.m. Monday