As Prospect coach John Camardella pointed out, there are a multitude of ways to lose a game.
The inexperienced Knights flirted with several, as Conant scored the first 12 points of the second half to erase a 7-point halftime deficit.
But Prospect regained its composure and hit 7 of 8 free throws down the stretch to hold off Conant 43-40 in the Joe Majkowski Varsity Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament at St. Viator.
"People don't understand how hard it is to learn how to win," said Prospect coach John Camardella. "There's plenty of ways to lose, but it's about learning to do the right things down the stretch. With everything we dealt with, I'm happy we pulled it out."
Up until the final 2:13, when Bobby Frasco and Tommy Flahaven (9 points) knocked down the critical free throws, Prospect (2-1) was 13 of 22 from the foul line.
After Robert Hudson's 3-pointer with 13 seconds left brought Conant within 39-38, Frasco calmly made 4 free throws to seal the win.
"We showed our fight," Frasco said after scoring a game-high 20 points, including hitting on 3 of 4 3-pointers. "We never gave up on anything. We could have easily folded and stopped playing."
Frasco's 13 first-half points gave the Knights a commanding 23-16 lead, but the Cougar defense didn't allow a bucket for nearly seven minutes.
Conant (0-2) appeared to have all of the momentum after sophomore Danny Sotos' 3-point play and Danny Modelski's drive to the hole that gave the Cougars a 28-23 advantage.
"We needed to take, not necessarily better shots, but finish better" Frasco said. "We were rushing on layups and turning the ball over. We had to calm down a little bit and let the game come to us."
With starters Mike Houghton and Colin Olson in foul trouble most of the night, 6-foot-6 senior Welby Malczewski gave the Knights a huge lift.
Frasco found Malczewski to break the scoreless spell in the third quarter and on the next possession, a nifty feed from Nick Lazarz to Malczewski resulted in a 3-point play.
Malczewski finished with 8 points and 7 rebounds while scoring the team's only 3 second half field goals.
"He's a great addition coming off the bench," Camardella said. "I really thought he helped us down the stretch."
Hudson scored 7 of his team-high 14 points in the fourth quarter to keep Conant close. His putback with 3:26 left resulted in the last tie of the evening at 35-35.
Conant had a look to send the game into overtime but Joey Ranallo's three pointer glanced off the rim.
"In a one possession game at the end, a lot of little things add up," said Conant coach Tom McCormack after his team went 9 of 16 from the free throw line and shot 29% (13 of 44) from the floor.
"With the experience we have going, we thought we should have gotten a better look to give ourselves a chance at the end."
Sotos finished with 9 points and 8 rebounds for the Cougars while Ranallo chipped in 7 points and 3 assists
St. Viator 44, Highland Park 42 (OT): Ore Arogundade finished with 11 points, including the game-winning bucket at the buzzer in overtime.
Pat Martin scored a game-high 13 points for St. Viator.
David Sachs and Sam Shrago had 10 points apiece for Highland Park.
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