MY 2 CENTS: Patient young hoops masters
The Newman Comets came out after half with a punch during Thursday’s girls basketball game against Prophetstown in Sterling.
The Comets worked the ball down to senior forward Rachel Hageman on the first possession, and she did the rest, pulling Newman within seven points at 28-21. The play took 18 seconds.
It could have signified a turning point, but after the teams traded empty, short possessions, Prophetstown collected its thoughts.
The Prophets brought the ball to midcourt and worked it around the court. It touched each girls’ hands once and then twice. Seconds ticked away, the Comets scurried to pressure each pass, and the Prophets never seemed to get rattled.
That’s hard to do.
Heck, even the Prophetstown backer sitting behind me got rattled. He muttered, “We going to do something here or what?”
Without sounding like a little green Jedi master, that’s what the Prophets were showing. If this was a long time ago and a galaxy far, far away, the Prophets would have started levitating rocks by the end of the quarter.
With each pass and rotation around the key, they gained complete control of the pace.
The word Newman coach Jay Howell used was “dictating” the pace.
That patience will reward the Prophets in the marathon that is the high school hoops season.
They’ve started about as well as possible with an 18-2 record. They won the Polo tournament over a tall Byron team they shouldn’t have been able to match up with, and sit atop the Three Rivers with a perfect 6-0 record. Newman (6-1) and Riverdale (4-1, going into Friday) are nipping at their heels.
The excitement level is growing in Prophetstown with good reason.
The Prophets returned oodles of talent from a sectional final team from last year.
They have speed in guards Cassie Reiley and Corrie Reiley. The two are pesky defenders with quick hands that take away possessions from clubs like Newman, which couldn’t afford turnovers when the Prophets were able to run off whole minutes with one possession.
They have nice size with Riley Walters and Clare Kramer. Walters showed a knack for passing around the basket that makes it hard to double team her.
Past that, they have solid role players like Karli Stafford and Brooke Remley, who are able to hit big shots when needed or come up with a nice play on defense.
The only hole seems to be rebounding, an issue that cost them in a loss to Riverdale in the Prophetstown tournament championship game. Newman also stayed close early on Thursday by controlling the boards.
Off in the horizon is the potential return matchup with Aquin – the defending 1A champion.
It’s something that players and fans have on their mind, as evidenced by interest in the Bulldogs’ scores on Twitter.
If the matchup happens, it should be a lot of fun.
But, as the Prophets taught us with the long play in the Newman game, patience will be rewarded.
Well, Cassie Reiley found a seam to the hoop, drove, was fouled and scored. It turned into a three-point play and a 10-point Prophetstown lead.