With just one starter back and a lot of question marks about the lineup, one had to wonder how Prospect would fare against highly touted Evanston.
But Tuesday night at the Joe Majkowski Thanksgiving Tournament at St. Viator in Arlington Heights, the Knights showed the type of mettle John Camardella-coached teams tend to bring to the court.
In the end Prospect, lost its season opener to Evanston 63-58 -- but Knight fans in the stands were encouraged.
"Not bad," a few were heard to say, and even coach Camardella echoed the phrase.
"We dug a hole in the first quarter with 8 turnovers that gave them 9 points," said Camardella. "It was not the type of start that I was hoping for. We were able to find ourselves after the first quarter and make a game of it."
Prospect trailed 17-5 after the first quarter and 19-5 just into the second quarter before the slow, steady comeback began.
Sam Murray scored 5 points and David Swedura had 4 in the second quarter that saw Prospect cut the Wildkits' lead at 28-22 at the break.
With Jon Kreidler (9 points) and Patrick McPartlin scoring to start the second half, Prospect pulled to 28-26.
Prospect and Evanston (2-0) exchanged the lead 7 times in the quarters last four minutes, with the Knights leading 43-42 at quarter's end.
"In the second quarter we began running our offense and looking for good shots," said Swedura. "I'm proud of my teammates and how we fought back to take the lead. We just gave them too many good looks at the basket."
Leading 47-42 following a putback by Jalen McLachlan (7 points, 7 rebounds), Evanston regained the momentum.
Freshman Blake Peters hit three 3s to key a 14-4 run with 3:04 left in the game to give Evanston a 56-51 lead.
Lance Jones (21 points) and Jaheim Holden (19) helped the Wildkits hang on.
A 3-point play by Tim Lussenhop (8 points) pulled the Knights to 60-58 with 1:17 left.
Jones' drive to the basket and a free throw by Matt Hall finished off the game.
"I'm the experienced player coming back from last years team," said Jones. "I kept mental notes on how to play in tight situations down the stretch. We had to just stay calm."
The Knights were 5-for-23 from 3-point range and missed their last four attempts to try to edge closer.
"The shots just didn't fall for us," said Camardella. "To be right there with a team like Evanston says a lot about these players. Our players off the bench did a real nice job. We just came up a little short."