Prospect survived a gallant effort at Wheeling on Saturday night to pull out a thrilling 55-52 over the Wildcats in the Mid-Suburban East.
Kyle Beyak scored the go-ahead 3-point basket with 1:09 left to give the Knights (10-7, 5-0) the lead at 55-52.
A few minutes earlier, Beyak had given Prospect the lead at 50-49 with another 3.
"Beyak is just fearless," said Knights coach John Camardella. "He has put in so much work in the summer and the season. It's not a surprise that he come through in clutch situations for us. He also had 8 assists in the game. We are at our best when Kyle stays in the attack mode."
The Knights needed every bit of effort against a much improved Wildcats team that fell to 8-10 and 2-3 in the conference.
The Wildcats used bruising defense and a potent offense in building 26-14 lead at the 3:41 mark of the second quarter. Jeremy Stephani, who led all scorers with 22 points, scored 8 points in the period.
Prospect began to claw its way back, with Danny Thomas scoring 5 of the Knights' final 7 points in the quarter to narrow the gap to 28-21 at the break.
Kyle Formanski (8 points) started the Knights' second half with a basket. Bobby Frasco (8 points), who was saddled with 3 fouls in the first half and did not take a shot in the first 16 minutes of play, hit a 3-pointer. Frasco tied the game at 32 with his second 3.
Stephani and sophomore center Patrick Szpir (10 points, 10 rebounds) put the Wildcats back ahead at 36-32.
The Knights went on a 10-0 run to lead 42-36 with 1:16 left and 45-40 to end the quarter.
After Beyak (12 points) put Prospect ahead 50-49, Chris Pierro hit a free throw with 2:18 left to tie it at 50.
Frasco connected for 2 free throws for a 52-50 lead before Wheeling's Bobby Webber made 2 free throws to tie the game at 52 with 1:24 left.
Wheeling last possession to tie game came up short when Pierro's 3-point try hit the rim and bounced away.
"Prospect played good defense in defending Stephani on that play," said Wheeling coach Anthony Como.
Wheeling committed 8 second-half turnovers and finished with 10 in the game. Prospect committed 8 turnovers but only 1 in the second half.
"You cannot give up possessions like we did in the second half," said Como. "In the second half they hit four 3-pointers and grabbed some offensive rebounds. We're still learning to play with the lead but tonight we played with spirit and heart."
Beyak was part of the glue that kept the team together when Frasco had to sit out with the foul trouble.
"In the second half we wanted to come out strong," said Beyak. "We were able to find the open player for good shots. It's a tough way to play, coming from behind, but we have a lot of different ways to score. We've been in this situation before so we know what we have to do."
Elk Grove loss at Buffalo Grove on Saturday gives the Knights a 2-game lead in the MSL East race.
"Our players don't shy away when we get behind," said Camardella. "They embrace it. I would prefer, though, that we don't always play from behind."