Prophetstown had a bad taste in its mouth after losing its past two games.
The Prophets made sure that taste didn’t linger Friday night against Fulton in Three Rivers Conference boys basketball.
Fulton’s Ryan Beiermann scored the first basket of the game, but Prophetstown scored the next 13. The Prophets led the rest of the way and grabbed a 64-43 victory.
“We talked before the game — we have trouble playing here most of the time — so we said we had to come out with high intensity and effort,” Prophetstown senior Matt Juhola said. “We all wanted this one more than usual because we hadn’t been doing too hot lately. We all came in focused and ready to play and got the job done.”
Juhola scored four of his team-high 19 points during the early 13-0 run. While the Prophets (4-5 conference) were clicking on offense, their defense was also holding the Steamers in check.
With 3:38 to play in the first half, Fulton’s Ryan Hoogheem got a steal and scored a fast-break layup to cut Prophetstown’s lead to 26-17. But that was the last first-half point Fulton scored. Prophetstown closed the half on a 10-0 run, highlighted by a three-point play from Juhola and a 3-point basket from Carter Ames.
Fulton standout Erik Renkes went into halftime with seven of his team’s 17 points.
“In our last two games, the defense hasn’t been that good,” Juhola said. “So, our main emphasis was defense first. Obviously, Erik is a good player, so we focused on him. I’d say we held him in check pretty good until the second half.”
Prophetstown coach Cordell Juhola said: “I thought our defense did a great job the first half. In the third quarter, we lulled a little bit. I thought we came out a little flat. ... Then we kicked it together in the fourth quarter.”
Renkes took advantage of that flatness.
He knocked down two 3-pointers and scored 11 of his game-high 20 points in the third quarter, but the Steamers could only cut a 19-point halftime deficit to 47-33 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Prophets’ defense — anchored by Matt Juhola in the back — held Fulton to 10 points in the final quarter, so even if Prophetstown didn’t score, it still would win.
Juhola blocked three shots in the fourth quarter. He finished with five blocks and 13 rebounds.
“Getting blocks always fires the team up,” he said. “I like to get one or two big ones every now and then. When they’re there, I’m going to get them obviously.”
Devin Johnson was a driving force behind the Prophets’ offense with 11 points — five in the fourth quarter — and seven assists, most of which came in transition.
“Devin is quick,” coach Juhola said. “He looks to pass, but if he’s got it to the hoop, he’s going to take it. He does a nice job.”
Matt Juhola was aided in the post by Zach Inskeep, who scored eight of his 12 points in the second half and pulled down eight rebounds.
“Me and Zach have pretty good chemistry down there,” Matt Juhola said. “We’ve got Devin, Josh and Carter that like to feed it inside. We feed it down there and it sets everything up. We can kick it out, and all our guys can hit shots. When we’re both down there, we get the boards and clean up on that, as well.”
PROPHETSTOWN 64, FULTON 43
PROPHETSTOWN — Jacob Miller 0 0-0 0, Rivor Gage 0 0-0 0, Josh Green 3 0-0 7, Carter Ames 4 0-0 11, AJ Ackerman 0 1-2 1, Matt Juhola 7 5-5 19, Zach Inskeep 6 0-0 12, Devin Johnson 4 3-8 11, Ethan Howard 0 2-2 2, Jacob Baker 0 1-2 1. Totals 24 12-19 64.
FULTON — Erik Renkes 6 5-8 20, Ryan Beiermann 2 3-4 7, Trae Tiesman 0 0-0 0, Ryan Hoogheem 2 0-0 4, John Widener 2 0-0 4, Jace Williams 1 0-1 2, Nick Fish 1 0-0 2, Adam Cooprider 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 8-14 43.
Prophetstown 18 18 11 17 — 64
Fulton 8 9 16 10 — 43
3-point goals — Prophetstown 4 (Ames 3, Green); Fulton 3 (Renkes 3). Total fouls — Prophetstown 15; Fulton 19. Fouled out — Beiermann.