Energized Schaumburg gets past Prospect

By Bill Esbrook
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 1/12/2019 10:36 PM

Schaumburg's boys basketball team entered Saturday's contest against visiting Prospect fresh off an emotional Mid-Suburban West win Friday over Fremd.

That didn't stop the Saxons from coming out with a ton of energy against the Knights.

Heze Trotter led Schaumburg with 17 points, and both he and teammate Jarod Schoo got clutch offensive rebounds in the final minute to help the Saxons win 51-48 in a MSL crossover.

"I feel like we carried over a lot of energy from the win against Fremd," said Schoo. "That was big and we kept it going tonight."

Prospect played Friday as well, scoring a victory over rival Rolling Meadows.

But the Knights trailed by double-digits almost the entire game until making things interesting down the stretch.

"They (Schaumburg) came out and got us right away," said Prospect coach John Camardella. "Really they established the inside which they can do. We tried a couple of different rotations and I was proud of how our guys battled."

Saxons sophomore forward Chris Hodges made his presence felt early, scoring 6 first quarter points to stake Schaumburg to an early lead.

Then Christian Orozco hit two straight 3-pointers in the second quarter to widen the advantage, and another 3 by Trotter put Schaumburg up by 10 at intermission.

"At halftime, "said Schoo, "coach (Wade Heisler) was just telling us just to keep up the energy and that the score doesn't mean anything -- just go out and play a complete game."

Schaumburg kept up the stifling defensive effort in the third quarter, and when Trotter stole the ball in the backcourt and fed teammate Mike Hodges for an easy layup, the Saxons led 38-24.

"The game plan tonight was just to be us," said Mike Hodges. "Not get complacent just because we got a big win last night. We still wanted to come out strong and set the tone."

Schaumburg increased the lead to 16 late in the third period, but the tables turned in the fourth.

A floater in the lane from Prospect senior guard TJ Johannesen cut the deficit to 9 with 3:28 left, then classmate Ben Miller hit 2 straight 3s from the corner and just like that the score was 43-40.

"It was kind of the same thing as last night against Fremd," said Mike Hodges. "They (Prospect) tried to come back at the end, but we stayed composed."

Schaumburg was able to close the game out at the free throw line late with Trotter and Schoo hitting clutch foul shots; but more importantly, each player got an offensive board off the other's miss in the final 30 seconds to help the Saxons keep control of the ball.

"Those were huge," said Mike Hodges of the clutch rebounds by Trotter and Schoo. "We really needed those, and that's what really put the icing on the cake."

"It got close there at the end," added Schoo, "but we were able to keep possession and close it out."

Prospect had one final chance when a 3-pointer by Ben Zellmer (game-high 24 points) brought the Knights to within 3 with 5 seconds left.

But the visitors were out of time outs and by the time the ball was put back into play, Prospect couldn't get off a final shot.

Chris Hodges scored 14 for Schaumburg (14-5) to go along with 7 rebounds, while Miller finished with 6 points for the Knights and Sam Murray added 5.

There was a wide disparity in 3-point attempts in the game as the Saxons were 4-of-12 while Prospect put up 25 3s, making 8.

"Great things for us tonight, and we'll learn from this game and get better," said Camardella. "That's why you schedule these types of crossover games. That's the thing, if you want to beat a team like Schaumburg -- they're one heck of a team this year -- you've got to get better and we'll give it a run."

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