Prophets follow plan for success
ERIE – Whenever the Prophetstown girls basketball team needs a blueprint for how to control a game, Thursday's performance provides the perfect one.
Using balance, near-perfect offensive execution, and hounding defense, the Prophets rolled to a 50-20 Three Rivers North Division win over Erie. With its parts in a consistent rhythm, Prophetstown was able to secure its 11th consecutive victory after a dominating display in all four quarters.
"Confidence is building up quickly," Prophetstown junior forward Clare Kramer said. "We've been playing together for a long time. We have really good chemistry, and we're starting to click now."
Working as a fluid unit, the Prophets (18-2, 6-0) received points from all 11 players who reached the floor, and held Erie (11-6, 3-3) to single-digit scoring in three quarters. Prophetstown also shot 42.6 percent (20 of 47) from the field and committed just 11 turnovers.
What left a lasting impression, though, is how the Prophets scored their points. Prophetstown patiently broke down the Erie zone defense, resulting in points all over the court. Whenever the perimeter was open, the Prophets knocked down a 3-pointer. Each time the Cardinals collapsed on the ball, a wide-open layup was converted.
For four quarters, they found a way to dissect the defense.
"They did take some stuff away from us," Prophetstown coach Don Robinson said. "We hung in there and were patient."
Erie struggled to find any offensive success, scoring nine total points in the first, second and fourth quarters. The Cardinals did not convert a field goal until 90 seconds into the second quarter, and shot 17.1 percent (7-for-41) from the field.
"That is the perfect storm to get blown out," Erie coach Brian Howell said. "When you're not hitting shots, you have to play perfect defense. Against good teams like that, you're not going to play perfect defense for four quarters."
The way Prophetstown executed on offense, it was impossible to get consistent stops.
Seven players scored in the first half, allowing the Prophets to build a 28-6 lead. Getting production from everyone helped them receive four points or more from seven players. Kramer tallied a game-high 12 points, with Heather Strike adding seven and Kassi Henrekin contributing six more.
Combine the balance with the execution and defensive intensity, and the Prophets will be tough to stop down the stretch.
"That's what's going to get us through the season," Kramer said. "I really hope it takes us far."
Prophetstown 50, Erie 20
Star of the game: Clare Kramer, Prophetstown, 12 points
Up next: Erie at Lena-Winslow tournament, Friday; Prophetstown at Morrison, 7:30 p.m. Monday