Cheerful night for Prospect in win over Buffalo Grove
As Prospect was set to host a boys and girls varsity basketball twinbill versus Buffalo Grove at Jean Walker Field House Friday night, it came with a Silent Night holiday theme that included its dance time dressed in holiday red doing a routine to the Christmas classic "Jingle Bell Rock".
In addition, its famed student section, the Prospect Underground, came dressed in holiday attire to cheer their classmates on.
After a ceremony that came in between the games honoring Prospect boys athletic director and head boys golf coach Tom Martindale, who will retire at the end of the 2018-19 school year, the Knights would bring holiday cheer to all their fans with a 67-58 triumph that leaves the reigning Mid-Suburban League East Division and MSL Conference champions at 4-0 atop the East standings heading into winter break.
"It is never easy," Prospect coach John Camardella said of his team's fifth win overall on the season. "Buffalo Grove is one heck of a team who gave us everything they had especially when they came back. Then, I saw our guys pick things back up and regain their composure which was great to see."
The comeback to which the 12th-year Knights coach was referring to came in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter as a 6-0 Bison run put them within 50-45 with 6:14 left as junior Tyler Kipley connected on a pair of charity tosses after freshman Kam Craft scored a layup that led to a three-point play nine seconds previous. It erased an early third quarter 16-point advantage that the home team had built.
It was from then on that Prospect (5-5, 4-0) silenced the Buffalo Grove surge as Jon Kreidler hit a 3-pointer off a Ben Miller feed with 4:50 to play that got the Knights back in control. A 12 of 14 performance at the free throw line over the final 4:16 put BG's comeback hopes into a retirement of its own as they could get no closer than 8 the rest of the way.
Kreidler, who scored 8 of his 10 points in the final eight minutes of play, credited his head coach taking a key timeout after Kipley's second free throw make cut the lead to 5.
"It helped to clear our heads," the 6-foot-4 senior swingman said. "Their defense was starting to slow us down and we needed to get back to those things that worked in the beginning for us."
Knights senior guard Sam Murray led all scorers with 19 points that featured 7 of 9 shooting from the floor. His fellow senior backcourt mate T.J. Johannesen added 16 while Ben Zellmer chipped in 10.
Murray likes to credit his shooting proficiency to proper techniques.
"I try to make sure that my feet are set whenever I attempt a shot," Murray said. "I also make sure to carve out some time at practice to keep working on it. During the course of a game it can be a feel thing -- when and where to take it."
Craft, a 6-4 freshman, alongside 6-3 senior and Northern Illinois football commit Tom Trieb, paced BG (6-4, 3-1) with 17 points each.
Both squads will be a among a quintet of area teams competing in next week's 42nd annual Wildcat Hardwood Classic at Wheeling where Buffalo Grove faces Deerfield while the Knights take on Notre Dame Wednesday afternoon in day one action.
"We look forward to it annually," Camardella said. "I can't imagine a better Christmas tournament around. It's lots of great competition that gives you the opportunity to play different types of teams there. It also gives us plenty to build upon for the second half of the season."
"Notre Dame is such a very good team," Murray said. "It's always fun to play such good teams like that over there. It's a big reason why we go back every year."