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Article updated: 12/27/2013 11:14 PM
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St. Viator strides into Hardwood final
 

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St. Viator strides into Hardwood final
  • St. Viator's bench celebrates a 3-point shot against Prospect at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday.

    Purchase Photo | St. Viator's bench celebrates a 3-point shot against Prospect at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday. George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  •  St. Viator guard Roosevelt Smart shoots over Prospect defender Kyle Formanski at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday.

    Purchase Photo | St. Viator guard Roosevelt Smart shoots over Prospect defender Kyle Formanski at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday. George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  •  St. Viator guard Roosevelt Smart shoots over Prospect defender Kyle Formanski at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday.

    Purchase Photo | St. Viator guard Roosevelt Smart shoots over Prospect defender Kyle Formanski at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday. George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  •  St. Viator guard Ore Arogundade shoots over Prospect defender Kyle Beyak at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday.

    Purchase Photo | St. Viator guard Ore Arogundade shoots over Prospect defender Kyle Beyak at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday. George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  •  St. Viator guard Ore Arogundade pulls in a pass before Prospect defender Danny Thomas can step in at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday.

    Purchase Photo | St. Viator guard Ore Arogundade pulls in a pass before Prospect defender Danny Thomas can step in at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday. George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  •  St. Viator coach Mike Howland and Lions players celebrate a score against Prospect at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday.

    Purchase Photo | St. Viator coach Mike Howland and Lions players celebrate a score against Prospect at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday. George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  •  Prospect defender Kyle Beyak shoots over St. Viator guard Ore Arogundade at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday.

    Purchase Photo | Prospect defender Kyle Beyak shoots over St. Viator guard Ore Arogundade at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday. George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  •  St. Viator coach Mike Howland calls a play against Prospect at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday.

    Purchase Photo | St. Viator coach Mike Howland calls a play against Prospect at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Friday. George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

Howard Schlossberg

Athleticism. Depth. And the two of the best shooters around.

All that and more makes St. Viator the dynamo it is this season, and the Lions (12-1) continued their winning ways Friday night in an impressive 65-50 semifinal win over Prospect at the Wheeling Wildcat Hardwood Classic.

Story Continues Below

The Knights (8-5) are the only team to be St. Viator this year, back on Nov. 29 at the Lions' Thanksgiving Tournament.

St. Viator meets Fremd for the tournament title tonight at 8:45 p.m. Saturday, while Prospect meets Naperville Central for third place at 7:15 p.m.

And while they remembered this season early history, it didn't blur the Lions' focus. They came out and played their game. Their up-tempo, in-your-face devastating game.

After allowing Prospect to run out to an early lead, the Lions regrouped and let scoring aces Ore Arogundade (23 points) and Roosevelt Smart (21) do their thing.

When they weren't knocking down opportunity jumpers in transition, they were taking turns, especially Arogundade, sharing the ball with 6-foot-6 running mate Tom Martin (10 points). St. Viator used a 7-point run in the second quarter to wipe out Prospect's only sustained lead. And after a Smart free throw following a steal, Arogundade neatly fed Martin coming out of a scramble for a loose ball and then closed the half with buzzer-beating hoop for a 32-24 lead after limiting Prospect to just 6 second-quarter points.

Smart's 12-point third quarter extended the lead to double-digits and kept it there. But it was the ability to limit Prospect defensively that impressed St. Viator coach Mike Howland.

"We're just playing better as a team on defense," he said. "We're still working on putting 32 minutes together."

Howland liked how Smart gladly took on the challenge of guarding Prospect's hot hand, Bobby Frasco. Of his 17 points, 10 came in the first quarter. And when Frasco went to the bench you could see Prospect's offense get out of synch.

Then, when Frasco came back, the athletic, intelligent Smart was waiting for him.

While Viator was shooting well (26-for-45) and outrebounding the Knights (23-16), Prospect knew it had missed a good chance. The Knights missed several bunnies while Viator was making the two first-half runs that essentially opened up the game for good.

Kyle Beyak (10 points) tried to pick up the scoring slack while Frasco sat with foul trouble, and the Knights just didn't have enough firepower to stay with the Lions.

"That's a very athletic team," said Prospect coach John Camardella, who said he felt the score was somewhat deceptive. "I was extremely proud of my kids. They (St. Viator) hit a couple more shots."

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