2016-'17 Season Coverage
updated: 3/3/2017 11:04 PM

Fant-astic finish favors Lake Park at Prospect

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  • Lake Park players stand with their plaque after defeating Prospect 60-59 in overtime to win the Class 4A regional final in Mt. Prospect on Friday.

      Lake Park players stand with their plaque after defeating Prospect 60-59 in overtime to win the Class 4A regional final in Mt. Prospect on Friday.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Prospect's Grant Whitebloom (24) consoles senior teammate Frankie Mack following the Knights' 60-59 overtime loss the Lake Park during the Class 4A regional final in Mt. Prospect on Friday.

      Prospect's Grant Whitebloom (24) consoles senior teammate Frankie Mack following the Knights' 60-59 overtime loss the Lake Park during the Class 4A regional final in Mt. Prospect on Friday.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Prospect's David Swedura drives to the basket ahead of the defense of Lake Park's Garrett Fant during the Class 4A regional final in Mount Prospect on Friday.

      Prospect's David Swedura drives to the basket ahead of the defense of Lake Park's Garrett Fant during the Class 4A regional final in Mount Prospect on Friday.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Prospect's Frankie Mack, middle, makes contact with Lake Park's Soloman Sangobowale as the Lancers' Garrett Fant helps defend during the Class 4A regional final in Mount Prospect on Friday.

      Prospect's Frankie Mack, middle, makes contact with Lake Park's Soloman Sangobowale as the Lancers' Garrett Fant helps defend during the Class 4A regional final in Mount Prospect on Friday.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Park's Jake Hianik reacts after hitting a 3-point shot against Prospect during the Class 4A regional final in Mount Prospect on Friday.

      Lake Park's Jake Hianik reacts after hitting a 3-point shot against Prospect during the Class 4A regional final in Mount Prospect on Friday.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • The ball is tied up between Lake Park's Andrew Vega, left, and Prospect's Antonio Gardner during the Class 4A regional final in Mount Prospect on Friday.

      The ball is tied up between Lake Park's Andrew Vega, left, and Prospect's Antonio Gardner during the Class 4A regional final in Mount Prospect on Friday.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Park's Daniel Spejcher drives for a reverse layup against Prospect defender Matt Szuba during the Class 4A regional final in Mount Prospect on Friday.

      Lake Park's Daniel Spejcher drives for a reverse layup against Prospect defender Matt Szuba during the Class 4A regional final in Mount Prospect on Friday.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
By Howard Schlossberg
Daily Herald Correspondent

Senior guard Garrett Fant has a long memory -- and a bad leg.

He managed to use both as inspiration to score 27 points in leading his Lake Park boys basketball teammates to 60-59 overtime win Friday against Class 4A regional host Prospect.

And just like that, the No. 3 seed in the Robert Morris University sectional had been eliminated by No. 11.

"Amazing, just amazing," was about all Fant could cox from his drained body as he hobbled toward the Lake Park locker room after a wild celebration, during which his Lancers and their friends, fans and parents spontaneously took command of the Jean Walker Fieldhouse floor, celebrating their spot next Wednesday against Conant in the sectional semifinals.

Fant's free throws in the final minute seemed like they'd be enough for a Lake Park win in regulation. But Prospect's Frankie Mack was fouled tossing home a desperation 3, and then made the game-tying free throw to force an improbable overtime that no one saw coming.

Fant took over in OT, scoring all 6 Lake Park points on an extra period-opening jumper and 3 of 5 free throws as Prospect, back in scramble mode, couldn't find the miracle shot this time, the clock expiring as point guard David Swedura's driving bank shot had a little too much on it and hopped hard off the backboard and the front of the rim.

It was a physical game, one in which two players fouled out and 53 free throws were attempted. Lake Park, with Fant playing limited minutes, double-teamed Prospect senior standout Frankie Mack (13 points) every time he had a touch, holding him without a first-half field goal.

"He's too good a player," Lake Park coach Josh Virotsko said of the strategy on Mack. "That's a tribute to him."

While forward Michael Ritchie (18 points) was picking up the scoring slack for Prospect ("No quit," said head coach John Camardella), Fant was getting help from Dan Spejcher, whose 15 points included a critical, halftime buzzer-beating, long-range 3.

A constantly shuffling lineup to accommodate Fant's injury included Andrew Vega's hard work around the basket and clutch outside shooting from Jake Hianik and Brady Olenek.

"We don't have a lot of height," said Virostko, who tried to keep fresh bodies in the game to battle Prospect's starting front line of all 6-foot-5-or better forwards.

The strategy must have worked.

"It's a make-or-miss game," Camardella said of basketball in general and referring specifically to his team's uncharacteristic 5-for-23 shooting from beyond the arc.

Fant, meanwhile, was still off in a virtual twilight zone, fighting through the pain -- and pulling up the memories.

"It's just where we came from," he said. "Two years ago, when I first got on the varsity, we lost in the supersectional. We couldn't finish.

"Tonight we could. It's amazing."

"That night," Virostko said, looking back out on the court where his team had just pulled a big upset, "could not have been wilder."

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