Lady Prophets Fall To Cougars (video)00:00 AM February 09, 2018
During the first three quarters of the Newman regional final game against the 1A seventh ranked Eastland Cougars the Lady Prophets looked like a team of destiny. They held a 30-17 lead with 3 ½ minutes left in the third quarter, but the upset wasn’t meant to be as Eastland forced the Prophets into 7 fourth-quarter turnovers and outscored them 24-6 in the last quarter to get the win and a berth in the Freeport Aquin sectional, 48-40.
The Prophets used a combination of defenses including a triangle and two, and a box and one, which forced the cougars into a perimeter game which proved to be unsuccessful in the first half. Prophetstown also showed patience with their spread offense in the first 16 minutes, building a 21-14 lead at halftime.
Olivia-Hope Toppert who had 6 points and 4 rebounds said, “At halftime we talked about that it would be tough to stay with it. We really been working hard on our defense. None of us ever quit we just wanted to work and win.” Prophet Coach Kara Bumsted said, “The first half we showed phenomenal patients on the offense end and I believe at one point we took a minute 48 seconds off the clock during one possession.”
Eastland continue to struggle from the perimeter in the third quarter until Erin Henze finally got the cougars first three-ball of the night at the seven-minute mark. The Prophets Courtney Pierceson answered with a three of her own on the next possession to push the Prophet lead to nine. Henze then hit her second three ball of the quarter to cut the Prophet lead to 10 was just over three minutes left in the quarter. She was leading scorer in the game with 20.
The Cougar defense began to ratchet up the pressure of their full-court press forcing the Prophets into three turnovers in the remainder of the quarter. Prophetstown, however, kept up the pressure as well on their defensive end and took a 34-24 lead into the final quarter.
Eastland’s Henze continued her hot shooting in the fourth quarter hitting back to back three-point buckets to pull the Cougars to within two points with 5 ½ minutes remaining. The Eastland defense meanwhile forced the Prophets into multiple turnovers, but the orange and black were able to maintain a lead and actually led 38-34 after Emma Camper dropped in a bucket after receiving a nifty pass from Courtney Pierceson in the lane with 3 ½ minutes remaining.
Another Henze three-ball drew the Cougars to within one with one minute 18 seconds remaining. After a timeout the Prophets tried a baseball pass from Dena Johnson to Courtney Pearson on an inbounds play that was picked off by Henze who was then fouled by Pearson while attempting a three-point shot. The sophomore hit two of three to put the Cougars up by one.
A missed baseline jumper by P-town’s Hannah McKinney was rebounded by the Cougars Jordan Miller who was fouled and promptly made both free throws to put Eastland up by three with 30 seconds remaining.
Prophetstown then committed their seventh turnover of the quarter forcing them to foul and the Cougars were able to seal the win at the free-throw line. “I don’t think it any point in that game my girls quit, it may not have come out the way they wanted to, but I told them I was very proud of the fact that they did not quit,” said Bumsted. “It’s hard to lose a close one and the seniors do not like to lose.”
The Prophets’ senior Dena Johnson who led the team with 12 points said,” At halftime I thought we had a real shot. We had a lot of momentum going into the second half. They don’t give up we just couldn’t hang with their three-ball shooting and we were throwing the ball away. We got ahead of ourselves and we started playing to their pace.”
“We’re just proud of what we’ve done this season a lot of people didn’t think we would make it this far,” added Johnson.
Courtney Pierceson had 10 and Emma Camper 8 for the Prophets who conclude the season with a record of 18-10.
Dena Johnson: 12 pts, 3 rebounds,
Courtney Pierceson: 10 pts, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
Olivia-Hope Toppert: 6 pts, 4 rebounds, 1 assists,
Hannah McKinney: 4 pts, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals
Emma Camper: 8 pts, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals