By Zach James Herald Assistant Sports Editor
The Clinton Herald
---- — PROPHETSTOWN, Ill. — It’s not the best start in school history that Prophetstown has experienced in school history, but having 16 wins heading into 2014 is something Don Robinson can smile about.
Another thing that the Lady Prophets can smile about is winning its own holiday tournament in nine years with a 68-37 win over LaSalle Peru on Saturday in the championship game.
“For us to compete against good teams is to play defense with desire,” Robinson said. “They played great defense against a good team. We kinda played keep away for a bit, and then played our standard offense and broke their backs a little bit.”
The score doesn’t seem as lopsided as it may appear. The score was tied at 17 apiece through the first quarter, and LaSalle Peru hung tight with the Lady Prophets despite Prophetstown nailing four 3-pointers in the opening frame.
Heather Strike had two of those 3-pointers, and Robinson has a nickname for Strike.
“ I like to call her Miss Clutch,” he said. “
Karlie Stafford led the run with a 3-pointer, then it seemed like Prophetstown could do anything they wanted on the floor.
“She chases the ball so well, and she wants the basketball,” Robinson said. “That Stafford girl is one of the biggest surprises to me this year so far. She has progressed very, very well.”
“We were executing really well by the time the second half came around, and the lead just erupted out of nowhere,” said Robinson.
Robinson says one of the main keys to Prophetstown being where they are is because of the balance of scoring. On Saturday, Prophetstown had three players in double figures and Brooke Remley almost got there with her nine points.
“My bench is as strong as it’s ever been, and we don’t seem to ease up,” he said.
The leading scorer on the night was Corrie Reiley, but her coach says she does more than score.
“She’s willing to defend their team’s best player, she isn’t afraid to pass the ball, she’s kind of the floor general,” Robinson said. “She makes other players look good.”
Reiley also contributed to the big second quarter run by having a pair of steals that led to points. In the second quarter, Prophetstown let its defense be the offense by only allowing six points, and never allowed more than eight per quarter after the first quarter.
“It’s an amazing, unselfish team,” Robinson said. “There are so many attributes that these girls have is what makes this team who they are, and why they’ve been so successful.”
Even though Prophetstown is off to a blazing start, Coach Robinson is mindful that his 1999-2000 squad had even a better start than this 16-2 start.
In the 1999-’00 season, Prophetstown started 26-0.
Robinson does see some similarities to this year’s team.
“They’re similar that they’re deep and have a lot of talent,” Robinson says. “That 1999 team had a lot more hype then. There was a lot of players who could play back then, but on this team, there’s not much difference from our number one player to number 11.”
The biggest problem to that — Robinson doesn’t know who to play at times.
“Sometimes it gives me a headache as to who to choose sometimes,” Robinson says with a chuckle. “I usually just let them decide in practice by battling it out. It’s a great problem to have.”
PROPHETSTOWN 68, LASALLE PERU 37
LASALLE PERU (9-8) — Lauren Tomasson 0 3-4 3, Hailey Armstrong 3 0-0 6, Madison Held 4 0-0 8, Jena Argubright 0 1-1 1, Quincie Weber 3 0-0 6, Alexa Zimbleman 1 1-4 3, Hannah Wolfe 4 0-0 8, Abbie Senica 1 0-0 2, Anna Konczak 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 5-9 37.
PROPHETSTOWN (16-2) — Corrie Reiley 6 4-6 19, Kassi Henrekin 0 0-0 0, Heather Strike 4 0-0 10, Cayla Crane 1 0-1 2, Karlie Stafford 3 0-1 7, Shelby Adams 4 2-2 11, Cydney Westen 2 0-0 4, Brooke Remley 4 0-2 9, Clare Kramer 3 0-0 6. Totals 27 6-12 68.
LaSalle Peru 17 6 6 8 — 37
Prophetstown 17 18 18 15 — 68
3-point goals — LaSalle 0, Prophetstown 8 (Reiley 3, Strike 2, Remley, Stafford, Adams). Total fouls — LaSalle 11, Prophetstown 12. Fouled out — None.