Ultimately, it came down to free throws and defense for Prospect in the Knights' 52-48 road victory over Elk Grove in Mid-Suburban League East play on Saturday night.
Thanks to strong fourth-quarter performances from Elk Grove's Joell Melendez and Tyler Ingebrigtsen, the Grenadiers were able to take a 10-point halftime deficit and turn it into a tie game with 36.3 seconds left.
Prospect (11-7, 6-0) held possession, and junior guard Kyle Beyak drove to the hoop and was fouled with 15.9 seconds to play. Beyak sank both free throws to give Prospect a 2-point lead.
The Knights needed a stop to secure the win.
On the following possession, Melendez burst into the lane for what looked to be the tying layup when Prospect's Bobby Frasco came from the weak side of the floor to block Melendez's shot out of bounds. There were still 7.4 seconds on the clock.
After inbounding the ball, Elk Grove's Scott Furlong had a decent look at a game-tying shot from about 10-feet out, but it wouldn't drop. Prospect's Alex Goneh secured the rebound and was fouled immediately. Three seconds remained, and Goneh had a chance to ice the game for the Knights.
"I felt confident," Goneh said. "We had a practice this morning, and I got some shots up. When I practice free throws, I picture these kinds of moments."
Goneh sank both attempts to seal the game. He finished with just 4 points, but those last 2 effectively won the game for the Knights. Similarly, Beyak -- Prospect's other free throw hero -- also scored only 4 points.
Prospect was led offensively by Ernest Kiseliovas, who came off the bench to score a career-high 19 points, included three 3-pointers.
"I was open," Kiseliovas said. "After the first three (pointer), I thought they were going to guard me, but my teammates kept penetrating for me and finding me for open shots. Elk Grove collapsed in the lane, and they found me on the outside. I just hit open shots tonight."
Prospect coach John Camardella said Kiseliovas hasn't even played in all of Prospect's games this season.
"That's why you love basketball," Camardella said. "When kids like that have a career night on the night you need it."
Senior guard Danny Thomas scored 17 points for Prospect.
Elk Grove (9-7, 3-3) played completely different offensively in the fourth quarter than it had in the previous three. The Grens poured in 20 points in the final frame, while the second-highest point total in a quarter came when they scored 11 in the first.
"We just stopped playing timid," Elk Grove coach Anthony Furman said. "Prospect, they got us on our heels a little bit early. We were just tentative. We wanted to play perfect and we ended up playing soft because we want to play so perfect and win. We just had to let it rip. Once it got contagious, it got contagious."
Melendez scored 10 of his 12 points in the final quarter, and Ingebrigtsen scored 8 of his game-high 21 points in the frame.