As it has become the custom, the Prospect-St.Patrick boys basketball game at the Shamrocks' 40th Max Kurland Tournament was another nailbiter.
The Shamrocks rallied in the last 1:17 of the game to pull out a dramatic 60-55 win over the Knights (0-2) on Friday night in Chicago. The last two years, both games went into overtime, with the host Shamrocks winning last year.
St. Patrick (2-0) junior guard Elijah Watson was the culprit that did in the Knights. While he scored just 8 points, Watson scored the go-ahead basket at 57-55 with 50 seconds left off of his own steal.
Ismar Seferagic (10 points, 7 rebounds) hit a free throw for a 58-55 lead with 24 seconds left. Royale Ewing, who scored 15 points and hit 10-of-10 free throws, hit his last two with 6.2 seconds remaining.
Watson and fellow junior Loren Horton were key figures in holding down Prospect guard Mike LaTulip. LaTulip led the Knights with 15 points and was constantly hounded.
"He's going to see that a lot this year," said St. Patrick coach Mike Bailey. "It was the same way a few years ago when we had Sam Maniscalco (former Bradley and current Illinois guard). Teams threw a lot of different defenses at us.
"We had to take away his lanes tonight. When we needed Elijah the most tonight in the fourth quarter he stepped up for us."
"I had to use a lot of energy in defending him," said Watson. "It took away from some of my offense. But, if we stay together we can do alot of nice things."
That's what Prospect coach John Carmardella thought also.
"I was happy with some of the progress we made in stopping some of their drives." said Camardella. "We had about a five-minute stretch in the third quarter from a 29-23 lead to trailing 39-31. We have faced two very unusual defenses. It's something we have to work on."
Ewing hit 2 free throws, then a 3-pointer, followed by 2 more free throws for a 30-29 lead.
Horton hit two 3s sandwiched between a Eric Harris free throw. Ewing then hit 2 more free throws in the 16-2 run.
Kevin Somogyi (11 points) played a big role in helping the Knights come back in the fourth quarter. Somogyi, who is just back from a ankle injury, scored 6 points in the fourth quarter.
Trailing 51-49 after Somogyi's last basket, LaTulip hit 6 of 7 free throws to give the Knights the lead a 55-54 with 1:50 left.
"When Somogyi's back at full strength he will be a big help. We come to this tournament to learn lessons, and we have to learn from what happened here," added Camardella. "Last year we lost our first two games also but we learned and had a pretty good season."
"For us we have to play hard for all 32 minutes," said LaTulip. "We have to get it done on the defensive side. We take care of that and polish things that are controllable and it will all work out. We played two good teams and played them pretty well. We never backed down ."
The Knights will have their chance for their first win Saturday night when they face Senn (0-2) from the Chicago Public League at 6 p.m.