Bench strength clinches East title for Prospect

  • Prospect's Tim Lussenhop (2) and Rolling Meadows' Gio Carrillo battle for a rebound on Friday in Rolling Meadows.

      Prospect's Tim Lussenhop (2) and Rolling Meadows' Gio Carrillo battle for a rebound on Friday in Rolling Meadows. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Rolling Meadows' Max Christie (12) shoots over Prospect's Tim Lussenhop on Friday in Rolling Meadows.

      Rolling Meadows' Max Christie (12) shoots over Prospect's Tim Lussenhop on Friday in Rolling Meadows. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Prospect's Jalen McLachlan (1) drives on Rolling Meadows' Sean Nolan on Friday in Rolling Meadows.

      Prospect's Jalen McLachlan (1) drives on Rolling Meadows' Sean Nolan on Friday in Rolling Meadows. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Rolling Meadows' Willis Goodwin, right, drives on Prospect's TJ Johannesen on Friday in Rolling Meadows.

      Rolling Meadows' Willis Goodwin, right, drives on Prospect's TJ Johannesen on Friday in Rolling Meadows. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Rolling Meadows' Drew Neville pulls down a rebound against Prospect on Friday at Rolling Meadows.

      Rolling Meadows' Drew Neville pulls down a rebound against Prospect on Friday at Rolling Meadows. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Prospect's Jalen McLachlan (1) drives on Rolling Meadows' Willis Goodwin (5) on Friday in Rolling Meadows.

      Prospect's Jalen McLachlan (1) drives on Rolling Meadows' Willis Goodwin (5) on Friday in Rolling Meadows. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Prospect's TJ Johannesen (24) drives on Rolling Meadows' Joe Coen during their game Friday in Rolling Meadows.

      Prospect's TJ Johannesen (24) drives on Rolling Meadows' Joe Coen during their game Friday in Rolling Meadows. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 
By Howard Schlossberg
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 2/2/2018 9:51 PM

If you're Prospect's varsity boys basketball team, it sure is nice to have guys like Sam Murray and T.J. Johannesen coming off the bench.

They were the first two in after the Knights fell behind 10-2 Friday night at Rolling Meadows.

 

"They have come off the bench every game for us," said Prospect coach John Camardella. Those selfless roles, he explained, "speak volumes as to who they are as people and players."

With the Knights struggling with their shooting and their ballhandling against Meadows' aggressive press, Murray scored 8 of his 11 points in the second quarter, including a major 3-pointer. Johannesen chipped in with 2 free throws and neat assists to Tim Lussenhop and David Swedura as Prospect forged ahead for keeps en route to a 72-63 Mid-Suburban East win that clinched the division title for them and a spot in the conference championship game.

The second-quarter surge was key for the division champs (16-4, 8-0) as they took their first lead at 22-21 on Jon Kreidler's free throws off an offensive rebound and continued to extend the lead on Swedura's free throws, Lussenhop's steal and finally Swedura's hoop on Johannesen's feed.

They were never headed from there, although Meadows closed within 8 twice in the fourth on the spectacular shooting of Gio Carrillo (30 points) and Willis Goodwin.

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But Swedura hit his free throws down the stretch, and Jalen McLachlan asserted himself around the basket with a pair of resounding dunks. Both finished with a team-high 17 points -- but they couldn't have done it without Murray.

"I'm just trying to bring some energy, hit a few shots, play defense," the 6-foot-1 junior said. He was especially helpful doubling on Meadows freshman standout Max Christie, who had the ball taken out of his hands all evening and finished with just 3 points.

"They took Max away," said Meadows (10-10, 5-3) coach Kevin Katovich, whose team committed 17 turnovers and shot 5-for-17 from beyond the arc. "We didn't execute what we wanted to. It's a little discouraging. We didn't give ourselves a chance."

Meadows persevered and pulled within 62-54 late.

"I was proud of the kids, the way they battled back," Katovich said.

Camardella was proud too -- especially of the boost provided by Murray and Johannesen.

"They continually improve, and when Sam's hitting, we're tough to defend. Being a scoring guard and coming off the bench, that's hard to do."

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