STERLING – Noah McCarty and the Newman Comets kind of eased into things Friday night at home against the Prophetstown Prophets.
But when the Comets turned things up a notch, the Prophets just couldn't keep up.
Newman held Prophetstown scoreless for 6˝ minutes early on, building an insurmountable lead en route to a 75-47 Three Rivers North victory.
"We played a strong first quarter," Newman sophomore center Noah McCarty said, "but it wasn't how we wanted to play. In the second quarter, we settled down, ran our offense better, and stepped up on defense and controlled the game."
The Comets (20-2, 8-1) led just 14-10 with 1:45 left in the opening period after Prophetstown's Ethan Howard scored on a fast-break assist from Grant Ames.
But Trevor Bolin's bucket 30 seconds later sparked a 17-0 run, including a 15-0 spurt over the first 4:50 of the second quarter. McCarty scored seven of those points, including a pair of layups off steals at half court on the first two possessions of the second period.
"It was just fundamental basketball," Prophetstown coach Cordell Juhola said. "We didn't take care of the ball, we didn't get back defensively, and we didn't work the ball around in our offense.
"When you do that against a disciplined team like Newman, which has played so well all season, this is what you're going to get."
The Prophets (5-12, 2-5) had no response to Newman's run, though they did continue to battle. They cut the deficit to 48-29 midway through the third quarter, only to see A.J. Sharp bury a 3-pointer to stop that surge.
Prophetstown got back to within 19 three more times, including after Chris Bauer's drive down the lane to end the third. But when his 3 attempt went long to open the fourth period, the Comets scored the next six points, capped by Shayne Allen's 3, to empty both benches.
"We weren't making good passes early, but we finally started executing and doing what we usually do," Ames said. "But we had already dug ourselves too big a hole, and they just answered everything we did in the second half."
Eleven different Comets scored, and eight of them had at least five points. Newman shot 53.6 percent from the floor (30-for-56), and assisted on 17 of of those 30 made baskets, with Sharp and Dillan Heffelfinger dishing five each.
The Comets also held a heavy edge on the glass, outrebounding the Prophets 37-23, and scored 13 second-chance points to go with 11 fast-break points.
"This just shows how deep we are," Sharp said. "It's nice to see every guy, 1 through 15, go out and have success. We all know the offense, we all know the defense, and we play team basketball. We're aggressive on defense, and we find the open guys on offense … and we know they're going to convert."
McCarty was 7-for-8 from the field and finished with 15 points, six rebounds, three steals and three blocks for the Comets, while Sharp added 14 points with those five assists. John Payan scored 12 points on four 3s, and Nolan McGinn chipped in six points and six boards. Lars Roleder and Nate Terveer also scored six, and Jacob Barnes and Allen each chipped in five points.
Ames led Prophetstown with 12 points, while Howard added 11 points, five rebounds and three assists. Bauer also scored 11, and Josh Sigel chipped in nine. The Prophets had just three steals, and committed 11 of their 18 turnovers before halftime; Newman had 10 of its 16 turnovers after the break.
Newman 75, Prophetstown 47
Star of the game: Noah McCarty, Newman, 15 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocks
Key performers: A.J. Sharp, Newman, 14 points, 5 assists; Ethan Howard, Prophetstown, 11 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists; Grant Ames, Prophetstown, 12 points, 2 assists
Up next: Prophetstown vs. Orion, at Fulton, 1 p.m. Saturday; Newman at Morrison, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday