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Girls basketball: Prophets, Hawks play to strengths very well

Small. Fast. Scary

Prophetstown's Heather Strike passes the ball to a teammate before it rolls out of bounds Friday night.
Prophetstown's Heather Strike passes the ball to a teammate before it rolls out of bounds Friday night.

Scouts watching today's 2A Aurora Christian Sectional semifinal will probably write down one word when the Prophetstown Prophets and Oregon Hawks take the court. That word: Small.

After watching the game for awhile that scout will likely put down another word: Fast.

Both would be right, and whichever team can used that speed to wreak the most havoc on defense and cause matchup problems on offense will likely be dancing into the sectional title game. Waiting for them there will be either Byron (27-3) or Aurora Christian (12-14).

Veteran Prophetstown coach Don Robinson understands that there is little point to worry about any team other than the Hawks at this point.

"You know when both our teams take the court that we aren't going to intimidate anyone," Robinson said. "Neither of us has the size for that. It's all about effort and executing as a team. They have so many weapons, and can really create problems on defense. It's so hard not to get into foul trouble against them."

Robinson has one word in mind when it comes to the Hawks: Scary.

"They are just so fast," Robinson said. "You always worry about getting into foul trouble with them. They have such quick hands, and they have players that are right at the top in the area each week in steals for a reason."

Oregon junior Emy Wright is second in the area in steals with 4.1 a game. Sam Lambrigtsen is third at 3.8. Leading the area is Prophetstown's Corrie Reiley at 4.6.

While the Hawks – who are led by reigning SVM player of the year, Lambrigtsen – are scary, the Prophets have found a way to succeed against them this season.

Prophetstown won both matchups between the top teams. The first was a 63-53 win in the third-place game at the Oregon tournament to start the season. The other was a 66-53 win at the Polo tournament before Christmas.

Wright, who scored 23 points in the opening loss, has been waiting for another chance at the Prophets.

"We need to stay calm, play the game how we like to play it," Wright said. "We have to stay out of foul trouble and play really good defense as a team.

"We're so ready for it. We wanted to see them again after those first two games, and hopefully we can get a win this time and keep our season going."

Since playing the Hawks, Prophetstown went on to go undefeated in the Three Rivers North before cruising to the St. Bede Regional. It is Prophetstown's first year in Class 2A, after playing in 1A the last several seasons.

"They're a solid team, and they're not going to beat themselves," Oregon coach Kristy Eckardt said. "We have to take care of the ball, too. They do everything so well, and we have to play our game and be strong with the ball and make good decisions. Hopefully, the third time will be the charm."

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