Prospect takes down Hersey to stay perfect in MSL East
For Prospect's boys basketball team on any given night, it doesn't matter who the high scorer is.
Or who hits the key basket. Or who draws the tough defensive assignment.
The Knights are pretty selfless and they showed how in a hard-fought 58-47 Mid-Suburban East win Friday night over Hersey at Jean Walker Field House at Prospect.
"The philosophy is always, 'It's our shot, not my shot,' " said senior forward Ben Miller after hitting for a game-high 19 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field, 4-of-4 on 3-pointers. "My team has given me confidence."
But it took the Knights a while to get going against a Hersey (11-9, 4-3) squad that put in a determined effort, especially on defense in the first half, from which it emerged with a 26-21 lead.
"Some nights, the shots aren't going to fall," said Miller, and they didn't in the first half for Prospect as Rocco Ronzio (14 points) shot the Huskies ahead on 4-of-5 from the field, with help from Davis Belford (11 points) and point guard Brad Hanushewsky (13). Meanwhile, the Knights turned the ball over against Hersey's pressure more times than they had baskets in the first quarter.
Then they made the adjustments they had to. "We needed to get our spacing down on offense," explained Knights coach John Camardella, whose team (11-9, 7-0) remains unbeaten over two-plus seasons in the division.
"We turned defense into offense in the third quarter. We outscored them 22-9. Our seniors put their stamp on this game."
Especially in the decisive third quarter, which center Jon Kreidler opened with a driving basket and Miller followed with a trey and then a drive as the lane opened for him, having established his outside shot. He added another driving hoop, Kreidler a putback and point guard T.J. Johannesen a 3-pointer as the Knights seized control. Sam Murray (14 points, 11 rebounds) closed the period with a putback and Prospect had turned a 5-point halftime deficit into an 8-point lead.
"Credit Hersey in the first half," Camardella said. "These two teams know each other very well and there was a lot at stake," as Hersey sought to stay in the division race.
"Give their coaching staff a lot of credit. They do a lot of little things very well," said Hersey coach Austin Scott. "They were tougher. They were prepared on defense," and showed it by turning Hersey's 10-of-16 shooting performance in the first half into 7-of-21 in the second half.
A lot of that credit goes to Ben Zellmer. Last week's high scorer in the comeback win at Wheeling only had 4 points Friday, but with a lot of help he established his presence in the middle against much larger and taller Hersey personnel. In the spirit of team effort, you could hear the cries to help him on the floor and from the bench.
"Ben Zellmer has grown more as a player between his junior and senior years than almost any player I've coached," said Camardella.