Prospect squeaks past Maine West
Throughout Prospect's fast-paced, frenetic, back-and-forth boys basketball game against visiting Maine West Tuesday night, the Knights had one constant.
Brian Dini taking care of business on the inside.
Dini, a 6-foot-5 senior forward, scored 11 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and had 2 assists -- one of the assists coming during a pivotal moment in the fourth quarter -- as Prospect won the nonconference matchup 48-44 at Jean Walker Field House in Mount Prospect.
"He worked his tail off," said Knights coach John Camardella of Dini. "We ask him to do a lot and he does it. He's one of our captains and you can tell how much he cares about the game. We've got a lot of guys on this team that have a lot of passion and they're really putting everything they have into the season."
Maine West had the upper hand through most of the game, but the Warriors scored only 1 point in the final 4 minutes of the game -- that coming on a free throw with 2 seconds left.
"We turned the ball over way too often down the stretch," said Warriors coach Tom Prokopij. "Our effort is through the roof, but our Achilles' heel has been taking care of the basketball and once we figure that out we're going to be a pretty good team."
Seniors Dan Kentgen and Jacob Riedl of Maine West each had two 3-pointers in the first half, and at one point the Warriors led by 7 points in the second period.
But Prospect fought back, getting within 3 points at halftime.
The score was tied at 39-39 heading into the final stanza, then Prospect scored the first 7 points of the quarter and when Dini took the ball in the post and dished to teammate Chase Larsen, who hit a driving layup then sank a free throw for a 3-point play, the Knights led 46-39.
Two foul shots apiece from Maine West's Jared Pearson and Kentgen cut into the lead midway through the period, then Prospect put forth a lockdown defensive effort, holding Maine West scoreless until the final moments of the game.
Dini had a late free throw to extend the advantage and so did teammate Marco Shaw, and a free throw from Maine West senior Sean Collins with 2.2 ticks left accounted for the final score.
"After last night," said Dini of Monday's difficult 55-52 loss to Schaumburg, "It was great to have an opportunity to come back tonight and get a win."
Collins and Kentgen each scored 10 points for the Warriors, Riedl added 8 points while Pearson scored 7.
Larsen led Prospect with 15 points and Matt Woloch scored 12.
"Credit Maine West tonight," said Camardella. "They came out blazing, they had five 3-pointers in the first half. They have some very quick guards, and we tried to adjust at halftime and we did. We had a tough loss last night against Schaumburg and it speaks to the character of our guys to come back on a short turnaround and get a win here at home."