Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2013, 9:04 pm

TRAC-9 girls' basketball race down to final week

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Photo: Sauk Valley Newspapers
Prophetstown forward Riley Walters goes up for a layup against Oregon during the Polo Tournament in December. The Lady Prophets and Riverdale are two wins away from sharing the Three Rivers Conference title for the second consecutive season.
There's still room for two at the top of the Three Rivers Conference girls' basketball standings.

Ayear after sharing the 2011-12 TRAC-9 championship, Prophetstown and Riverdale could end up as co-holders of the same title for a second consecutive season if both can win out in the regular season's final week.

Sharing the league lead with twin 11-1 records — all other Three Rivers teams have been eliminated from contention — the Lady Prophets (23-3) and the Rams (21-2) also share the same last-week scheduling — one game against an upper-echelon league club, the other a potential trap game.

Winners of five straight since a 43-42 loss at Riverdale at the beginning of January that led to the present two-way logjam, Prophetstown travels to Fulton (10-17) tonight before wrapping up the regular season with its Senior Night game Friday against rival Erie (18-8).

The emergence of sophomores Corrie Reiley at guard and Clare Kramer at forward to augment the senior nucleus of point guard Cassie Reiley and power forward Riley Walters has added an extra dimension for veteran coach Don Robinson's Prophets, who look to go past last year's Class 1A sectional final berth.

However, making their game against Erie even trickier is the fact the Cardinals and their 7-5 TRAC-9 mark still have a shot at third place if they can overtake Sterling Newman (13-10, 8-4). At 18 wins, Erie already has made a six-victory improvement over 2011-12 as a full season from oft-injured junior guard Laykin Miner and the emergence of freshman forward and top rebounder Rachel Cobert has made a difference.

Speaking of Newman, the Comets are the next obstacle in front of a Riverdale club that is on a 12-game winning streak and hasn't lost since before Christmas. The first of Riverdale's two losses came in its conference opener, when Prophetstown rallied from a double-digit deficit to prevail 52-50 in overtime.

Led by the senior duo of all-time leading scorer Hannah Nimrick — the first 1,400-point scorer in Ram girls' history — and all-time steals leader Elle May, the Rams trek to Sterling for tonight's 7:30 match-up. If it can take care of business on the road, Riverdale closes on Thursday with its Senior NIght game against Amboy (12-12).

Sherrard close to WCC North crown: Two years ago, the Sherrard girls had to settle for sharing the West Central Conference's North Division title with Illini West. Now, the Tigers (23-3) are one win away from earning a second straight outright championship.

With Thursday's short drive over to Orion (18-8) left in its conference schedule, Sherrard only needs to beat the Chargers for the second time this season to lock up the crown for itself, having already clinched no worse than a share of first place with its 8-1 record.

The Tigers have won or shared the WCC North title in all three years as a member; they depart (along with Orion and Rockridge) for the Three Rivers in 2013-14.

Right behind coach Doug Swanson's club is none other than Illini West (16-10, 7-2), which also closes division play Thursday on the road, trekking to Edgington to take on a much-improved Rockridge club (11-14) while keeping its collective ear tuned to updates from Orion.

LTC wrapped up; silver still up for grabs: First place in the Lincoln Trail Conference has already been locked up by 1A state power Annawan (22-2, 9-0 LTC), which followed up a third straight LTC Tournament title by taking care of the regular-season crown with last week's 73-33 romp past Galva. The Bravettes look to make it 10-0 Wednesday night when they host rival Wethersfield.

However, a multitude of teams are still struggling for the conference's silver medal. A recent 57-39 win at Wethersfield (20-6, 6-2 LTC) has Stark County (17-8) leading that five-team pack with its 7-2 conference mark. Lining up behind the Lady Geese are ROWVA (13-10) and West Central (12-11) at 5-2; Ridgewood (12-13) is still mathematically in the picture at 4-3.

Contact Area beat reporter Terry Duckett at