The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Sports

December 31, 2012

Riverdale wins title game

Prophets play a half to forget

PROPHETSTOWN, Ill. — Prophetstown would rather forget the second half of its game against Riverdale in the finals of the Lady Prophets basketball tournament Saturday night.

The Prophets (17-2) were outscored 27-7 in the second half, including giving up a 13-0 run, in a 46-29 loss.

“After a loss like that, I don’t even know how to feel; it was pretty depressing,” Prophetstown senior Cassie Reiley said. “We have them in a week, so we can’t dwell on it. We have to look to the future and move forward. Hopefully, we’ll learn from the loss and our mistakes. Then come back and beat them Saturday when, in my opinion, it matters more in conference.”

Riverdale (14-2) trailed 22-17 after a Cydney Westen jumper with 1:30 left in the second quarter but scored the next 10 points. During that run, Sydney Mericle scored five points and Lauren Claus put in four.

“It was definitely our defense,” Riverdale senior Hannah Nimrick said. “We pressured the ball, and I think that really helped with us getting them frustrated.”

Prophetstown scored again on a Riley Walters jumper with 3:18 to go in the third quarter.

“They played tough defense on us, but none of our shots were falling,” Reiley said. “It just wasn’t our night tonight, I guess.

“There was a bunch of shots that rimmed out. They played a great game, give credit to them. But we had a really off night.”

Prophetstown won the first meeting of the two teams 51-49 in November at home and the teams meet again Jan. 5 in Port Byron, Ill., for the rubber match.

“We wanted to beat them the first time we played them in conference, but we knew we had to shake that game off,” Nimrick said. “We knew they would overlook us this tournament because they did beat us the first time. We thought if we brought out hard defense and got their guards frustrated, we’d be OK.”

Walters made a pair of free throws to cut Riverdale’s lead to 31-26 with 1:54 left in the third quarter. But that’s when the Rams put the game away with a 13-0 run. Nimrick scored seven of her 15 points, and Mericle scored four of her 15, during that run.

Nimrick had six points at halftime and Elle May, Riverdale’s other star player, did not score at all.

“I know when I get the ball they crash on me, so that makes it easier to dish off to other people,” said Nimrick, who added she was used to being the focal point of opponents’ defenses. “My team helps me get open. Without them, I wouldn’t have nearly as many points. They really create open space for me.”

Claus reached double figures with 10 points.

“It’s really frustrating,” Reiley said. “We knew we had to have really good helpside (defense) on Hannah and Elle. We left the other girls open just a little bit more. That backfired on us, but we’ll know for next time. I guess we have to honor those girls and their shots a little more.”

Prophetstown trailed 12-7 after the first quarter but started the second quarter on a good run.

Clare Kramer made a free throw on the Prophets’ first possession and then took a charge from Nimrick, which seemed to fire up her team. Kramer already had three fouls at the time but said she knew it was a charge.

“I really wanted to step up because it was a bad thing to get three fouls in the first quarter,” Kramer said. “It was awesome. I was like, ‘Yes.’ I started clapping. It felt great.”

The Prophets then forced turnovers on Riverdale’s next five possessions, as well. During that time, Kramer hit a jumper, Corrie Reiley and Cassie Reiley hit back-to-back 3-pointers and then back-to-back transition buckets for a 20-12 Prophetstown lead.

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