With less than 1:25 in the fourth quarter showing on the scoreboard, Bartlett had possession of the basketball and led Prospect 33-30 in an opening-round game of the Dundee Crown Charger Classic on Thursday afternoon.
That's when the Knights showed what their defense is all about and came up with a dramatic 38-33 triumph to advance to Friday's quarterfinal against Stevenson at 5 p.m. Bartlett will face Maine South in the consolation bracket at 9:30 a.m.
Junior Taylor Will came up with her biggest steal of the game near midcourt and then swept to the basket for layup to cut the deficit to 33-32 with 1:21 left.
On the Hawks' next possession, Will's younger sister played copycat.
Freshman Haley Will came up with a swipe near the top of the key and raced to the basket for another layup which gave the Knights a 34-33 lead with 50.4 seconds left.
Prospect (11-1) forced yet another turnover moments later, resulting in 2 free throws by Taylor Will for a 36-33 advantage.
The defense still wouldn't rest.
After a timeout by Hawks coach Denise Sarna with 32.5 seconds, Bartlett (7-6) came down the court needing a 3-pointer or 3-point play to tie.
Standing in the way, literally, was Mallory Gonzalez.
The 5-foot-10 senior took a charge with 21.9 seconds left and she later sealed the win by hitting a pair of free throws with 2.9 seconds left to give Prospect the come-from-behind win.
"I love charges," Gonzalez said. "I always try to keep my hands up and let them come into me. I was hoping they'd call the charge."
Sure enough Gonzalez got the call, highlighting quite a crowd-pleasing final two minutes for the Knights' fans.
"That was huge," said Prospect coach Ashley Graham of Gonzales' big play. "And then the two steals (by the Wills). Obviously, it's attributed to all five kids' ball pressure."
The Knights' pressure defense held Bartlett to 10 points in the second half.
"Holding them to 33 points is a positive," Graham said. "Unfortunately, we only had 38, which is uncharacteristic. We know we will have those kind of games. But to hold them down the way we did defensively in the second half is something we are proud of."
Taylor Will finished with a game-high 18 points, including her big layup off the steal which ignited the Knights' winning rally.
"We were thinking we either had to foul them or get the steal," she said. "When Catherine (Sherwood, who had 6 points and 9 rebounds) got her player to pick up her dribble, I just went for the steal."
Taylor Will also had 7 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists. Haley Will added 9 points with 3 steals and an assist.
Senior Marissa Pacini also had a steal for the Knights, who were 14 of 22 at the free throw line while Bartlett made 5 of 8.
"They were good," Taylor Will said of Bartlett. "We haven't seen a team where all the girls were so quick and good at driving to the basket."
But when Gonzalez (4 points, 3 assists, 3 steals) saw the Bartlett guard driving to the basket with her team trying to protect a 36-33 lead, she made sure to plant herself in the lane.
"That charging call was huge," Taylor Will said. "It's funny because there were no charging calls to that point so were all kind of nervous."
"In my mind, I was saying, 'Please be a charge,' " Gonzalez said. "Right after Taylor and Haley made those two steals, it was like 'OK, it's our game now.'"
Bartlett (7-6) appeared to be taking control of the game in the second quarter when a fastbreak layup by senior Ally Giampapa put the Hawks ahead 19-11.
But Prospect drew to within 19-17 before Bartlett got layups from sophomore Kaitlin Brohan (15 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assist) and junior Lauren Janczak to lead 23-17 at intermission.
"We've been talking to Kaitlin about playing with more aggressiveness and passion," said Hawks coach Denise Sarna. "And I got thought she did that this game."
Giampapa chipped in 10 points with 3 rebounds while Janczak came off the bench and contributed 8 points, all in the first half.
"We have a few seniors but we have a lot of youth and we have to put together a whole four quarters, not just three quarters and five minutes like this game" Sarna added. "
"Some times it happens in the middle of the game where things will go haywire. It's frustrating because we feel we are right there. We've got to learn how to finish.
"If anything it was a good solid effort most of the game. But we've got to be believe that we can compete and be a little more composed at the end."
The ending for the Knights was exactly what they were looking for.
"Coach is always telling us every game that we have to come out and play every quarter," Gonzalez said. "In the fourth quarter, we really came back and she (Graham) was hyping us up a lot which really helped."
"The energy the last two minutes was really impressive," said Graham, who will face a Stevenson team coached by Tom Dineen, who was Graham's coach when she (then Ashley Sandstead) played at Buffalo Grove. "Being down and coming back to get the win was very positive."
Graham was also Dineen's assistant at Stevenson before taking over the Prospect program last year.