Could Prospect really be this good?
This good, meaning, shooting 27 of 46 from the floor, outrebounding its opponent 31-9 and limiting them to 15-of-41 shooting.
Maybe Prospect can't be this good every game. But after what coach John Camardella called "a great week of practice and getting our team healthy," his Knights (5-4) went out Tuesday afternoon and won their opening game at the Wheeling Wildcat Hardwood Classic in convincing fashion 69-44 over Loyola.
Camardella called Tuesday's win "one of the best defensive efforts I've seen from one of our teams" during his five years as head coach, nine all told in the program.
Loyola, which prides itself on its 3-point shooting and a heritage of celebrity rosters (Michael Jordan's boys, Bill Wennington's son), got few good looks against Prospect's tight man-to-man and even fewer second chances. Top guns Peter Pujals and Jack Morrissey scored 16 and 15 points, respectively, but shot 6-for-21 combined on 3-pointers with Prospect's Mike LaTulip, Brad Reibel, Jack Landwehr and Alex Thierjung chasing them relentlessly through picks.
On the other end, LaTulip scored 23 and enabled Prospect to completely blow the game open in the second quarter with 5-of-7 shooting for 12 points.
As the Knights stretched the halftime lead to 34-19, LaTulip took a beautiful backdoor bounce pass from Derice Black (10 points) for a layup and dished out 3 more assists himself. Teammate Brad Reibel did his Magic Johnson act, dishing out 8 assists, including a feed to center Kevin Somogyi during the second-quarter burst that opened up the game. Alex Thierjung came off the bench to contribute a strong effort with a 3-pointer and a nice feed to Devin O'Hara for a 3-point play and a 32-19 lead.
As to the team's 16 assists, "That almost feels better," than making a tough shot, LaTulip said. "Brad did a great job."
Defensive effort and overall pacing were also success stories for the Knighs.
"We didn't want them to dictate to us," LaTulip said. "We wanted to dictate to them."
So, again -- is Prospect really this good?
"We started the season seeing every possible defense," Camardella said of the variety of styles thrown at his Knights since Thanksgiving.
They get Stevenson's variety at 5:30 p.m. today in the quarterfinals.