ONEIDA -- The key to the Prophetstown Prophets' 7-3 start this boys' basketball season has been the relentless defensive pressure they bring to every opponent.|
Wednesday evening at the ROWVA/Ridgewood Classic, the Prophets not only thrived with their defense by forcing United into 22 turnovers, but they treated the ball as a valued object, losing it just seven times as they shook off a close opening period to roll past the Red Storm 52-24.
"We played good defense, and we took care of the ball and made our shots,'' said Prophetstown coach Cordell Juhola, whose club has won four of its last five games. "Everybody communicated tonight, and we didn't let down. I'm proud of our guys' effort and teamwork.''
Senior forward Carter Ames gave another strong effort with game highs of 18 points and seven rebounds, matching teammate Ethan Howard for game honors in the latter category. Zach Inskeep added further bulk on the boards with six caroms.
"We've had a lot of close wins, so it was good to branch out and beat them by more than 20,'' quipped Ames. "We like these kind of games. We just have to keep winning and stay together as a team.''
Turnovers by United (1-7) helped the Prophets blast out of the starting blocks, scoring the game's first eight points before the Red Storm got on the scoreboard on a Job Runge bucket at the 4:14 mark of the first quarter.
That basket gave United a boost, as it traded buckets with Prophetstown throughout the balance of the period before Gary Wynne bagged a 3-pointer with 18 seconds left to close the gap to 16-11. However, that was as good as it got for the Red Storm.
With senior guard Devin Johnson scoring seven of his 13 points in the second quarter, the Prophets quickly took an 11-point lead. Runge cut it to 22-13, but Prophetstown responded by scoring seven unanswered points en route to a 31-15 halftime lead. Johnson also had four steals to anchor the Prophet defense.
"(Tuesday) night, we competed real well against an equally talented team,'' said United coach Jim Noonan, referring to a hard-fought 55-43 loss to Williamsfield. "But we definitely didn't look like the same team as Tuesday. I didn't feel our energy on the defensive end was anywhere close to what we're capable of producing.''
After shooting just over 50 percent in the first quarter, United hit on just five of 28 shots the rest of the way, with Runge's six points and six rebounds leading the way. Danton McMullin also had six boards.
"Our guards made some excellent passes and found the open man, and everyone on our bench contributed with their positive attitude,'' said Ames. "There were no letdowns at all.''
Williamsfield 54, ROWVA 52:Having led throughout Wednesday's nightcap, the ROWVA Tigers (4-7) could have created a three-way logjam atop the tournament standings, but Williamsfield's James Sams hit two free throws with 6.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter, and the Tigers' Asa Stevenson just missed at the buzzer as the Bombers (7-3) stayed perfect in the tourney at 3-0.
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