By Kurt Ritzman
Assistant Sports Editor
PROPHETSTOWN, Ill. —
For the first five minutes Friday night, the final matchup of pool play at the Lady Prophets basketball tournament lived up to the hype of a showdown between two good teams.
After that, Prophetstown (17-1) dominated Orion and finished unbeaten in pool play with a 50-20 win.
“I thought that game was going to be so close,” Prophetstown senior guard Cassie Reiley said. “We played amazing. I’m so proud of everyone on our team. I did not expect that score at all. I still can’t believe it.”
The Chargers took early leads of 7-4 and 9-6 behind the play on both ends of the court of 6-foot center Cassidy Clark.
“We don’t start out good ever,” Prophetstown sophomore Corrie Reiley said. “We always start out down. But then we come back and get in a groove.”
After a pair of free throws by Riley Walters, Corrie Reiley got a steal and scored a fastbreak layup to give the Prophets the lead. From there, Prophetstown’s defense stiffened and forced turnovers on five consecutive possessions, and Cassie Reiley nailed a jumper at the buzzer for a 13-9 lead.
“It took us a little while to find out what Orion was all about,” Cassie Reiley said. “What does coach (Don) Robinson say about the counter move?”
Corrie Reiley chipped in, “For every move, there is a counter move.”
“I think we found the counter move against them and that’s how we got on our run,” Cassie Reiley said.
Prophetstown went on a 31-3 run over 15:39 after trailing 9-6.
Clark hit a 3-pointer and set up the other six points as Orion took its early lead. The Prophets decided a good way to try to limit Clark’s effectiveness was to attack her when she was playing defense. A lot of that was left up to Walters, who met with mixed success early. Walters shot 1-of-5 from the field in the first quarter against Clark, who finished with seven blocked shots, the majority against Walters.
“It was kind of a bummer that she kept blocking me,” Walters said. “I work on moves everyday, but she did have a big height advantage. After a while, I could start reading her defense a little better.”
Walters finished with 14 points, but more importantly she drew two early fouls on Clark. It wasn’t too long before the smallest player on the court, Corrie Reiley, got Clark to commit her third foul in the first half.
With 3:31 before halftime, she drove right at Clark and shot, getting fouled and sending Clark to the bench. Corrie Reiley missed both free throws, but then stole the ball in the backcourt, was fouled again and that time made the pair.
“I’m not afraid of any post player,” she said. “Then I was so mad I missed them. ... I got the steal and got fouled again. That time I made them.”
Clark also got a taste of her own medicine in the third quarter when she had a pair of shots blocked by Walters.
“It felt great,” Walters said. “That was fun. It was a little payback.”
Clark fouled out with more than half of the fourth quarter left, during a 9-0 Prophetstown run, but the game was decided at that point.
When the Prophets pulled their starters with 3:39 to play, they had forced 26 turnovers and allowed 16 points.
Prophetstown, which forced 28 total turnovers, takes on Riverdale tonight at 7:30 in the championship game of the tournament.
Tia Barlow scored 18 points to lead Proviso East to a 47-35 victory over West Carroll. The Thunder were led by 14 points from Kaylee Vos.
Hannah Nimrick scored 19 points and Lauren Claus put in 18 to lead Riverdale to a 70-35 win over Spring Valley Hall.
Hinckley-Big Rock beat Kirkland Hiawatha 38-21.
PROPHETSTOWN 50, ORION 20
ORION — Angie Minas 0 2-2 2, Katie Garrity 2 0-0 4, Abby DeBaillie 0 0-2 0, Baillie McCunn 2 0-1 4, Morgan Dahl 1 0-0 2, Katie Conway 1 0-2 2, Abby Taets 0 0-0 0, Cassidy Clark 2 1-2 6. Totals 8 3-9 20.
PROPHETSTOWN (17-1) — Cassie Reiley 6 0-0 15, Kaeli Kovarik 0 0-0 0, Corrie Reiley 2 4-9 8, Molly Corbin 0 0-0 0, Karli Stafford 1 0-0 2, Cydney Westen 1 0-0 3, Brooke Remley 1 0-0 2, Riley Walters 5 4-5 14, Clare Kramer 3 0-0 6. Totals 19 8-14 50.
Orion 9 3 4 4 — 20
Prophetstown 13 13 14 10 — 50
3-point goals — Orion 1 (Clark); Prophetstown 4 (Ca. Reiley 3, Westen). Total fouls — Orion 14; Prophetstown 11. Fouled out — Clark.