Prospect flipped the switch and powered past Conant 59-39 in the boys basketball season opener for both teams at the Joe Majkowski Thanksgiving tournament at St. Viator in Arlington Heights.
"You practice those first two weeks, always hoping they are prepared to come out prepared to deal with the ups and downs," Prospect coach John Camardella said. "For us to come out like and come back from being down is very gratifying."
Conant appeared to be on its way early in a battle between two of the top teams from the Mid-Suburban League. The Cougars were slashing to the basket early, hitting 8 of their first 11 shots as Conant built a 21-14 lead with 5:53 left in the first half.
Prospect then went to a switching defense, keeping the Cougars away from the basket. The strategy paid huge dividends, with Conant scoring just 18 points the rest if the way.
"Credit (assistant coach Brad) Rathe and the rest of our coaches," Camardella said. "We made the change from the bench and the kids executed it perfectly."
Bobby Frasco, who finished with a game-high 18 points, including 3 3-pointers, thought the switching defense kept Conant on its heels.
"It was really fun out there," Frascco said. "We actually started switching on the screens. And with our size and athleticism it worked."
While the defense was clamping down on the Cougars, the Prospect offense heated up.
Ernest Kiseliovas came off the bench to nail a pair of 3-pointers from nearly the same spot on the left wing. Frasco then followed with a trey as the the Knights erupted for 16 unanswered points.
"I knew I was going to get some minutes today," said Kiseliovas, who finished with 8 points. "It was just a good day for me. I practice my shooting and that is the one thing I am good at."
Danny Thomas, who chipped in 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting, said the Prospect defense, which held Conant to 25 percent shooting (8-of-32), spurred the offensive play.
"We made some great adjustments," Thomas said. "With our defense playing well, it got our offense going."
Leading 32-27 with 7:16 left in the third quarter, Prospect erupted again, closing out the quarter with a 9-2 run to lead 41-29. The Knights then used 9-0 run in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
"I felt that we got off to a good start when were just sparring out there," Conant coach Tom McCormack said. "When they went to their switching stuff, we didn't take advantage of the mismatches. And we especially didn't recognize the mismatch in the post. But it is early in the season and we will get better."
Kyle Beyak had 11 points with a pair of 3-pointers for Prospect. Conant, which hit just 1-of-11 from outside the arc, was led by Joe Ranallo, who had 13 points and D'Angelo McBride who finished with 11 points.