ERIE -- Opening up Three Rivers Conference play Tuesday night, the Erie girls' basketball team wanted to see exactly where it stood after a 5-0 start.|
On the other hand, Prophetstown was looking to continue its fast start to conference play after surviving last Saturday's home-court scrap with fellow defending co-champion Riverdale.
Sparked by a strong first half from sophomore forward Clare Kramer, seven 3-pointers and a tenacious defense that produced 11 steals, the Lady Prophets blazed out to a fast start and never relented as they rolled to a 53-30 victory at the Cardinal Cage.
Scoring all 11 of her points in the first half to go with four rebounds and two steals, Kramer's work was nicely complemented by the outside shooting of senior guard Cassie Reiley (11 points, three 3-pointers) and her sister, sophomore guard Corrie Reiley (13 points, three 3s).
"We were ready to come out and create a big lead early,'' said Kramer. "We're definitely very good when we come together as a team. Beating Riverdale gave us a lot of confidence.''
After rallying from an 11-point deficit to nip Riverdale 52-50 last Saturday, Prophetstown (6-1) built off that battle to move to 3-0 in the TRAC-9 as it took care of business against an Erie team (5-1, 0-1) that the Lady Prophets bested in last year's Class 1A regional finals, also at the Cage.
"We knew we'd have a target on our backs after we played them the last few times, especially the regional finals,'' said Cassie Reiley. "This is always a rivalry game for both of us, and our team came ready to play. We knew we had to come out with big hearts, play our game and hustle on defense. We're starting to play well, which is really fun.''
After closing the first quarter with a 9-0 run to go up 15-4, Prophetstown stretched that run to 12-0, and then 18-2 as it opened up a 24-6 lead. However, the Cardinals kept on plugging away despite foul trouble plaguing starters Desirae Lawson and Courtney Cobert (three steals). A Kayla Waggoner 3-pointer closed the gap to 35-19 by halftime.
However, Erie could not build off of that momentum despite holding the Lady Prophets to just five third-quarter points, as Prophetstown held the hosts to just three. With senior forward Riley Walters (12 points, five rebounds) heating up in the second half, the Prophets opened the fourth period with a 9-0 run to go up 49-22.
"We had a real good second quarter where we started to execute some things and build some positives,'' said Erie coach Brian Howell, whose club was led by Waggoner's 10 points and Rachel Cobert's six rebounds as it played its first game in a week.
"The third quarter was when we needed to make a run, and while our defense showed up, their pressure really put us out of our rhythm. And Prophetstown shot really well; hitting five 3s in the first half took us out of it mentally. But it's only November. It's bad to lose a game, but I'd rather do it now.''
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