Prospect holds on to down Hersey
A roller coaster, back-and-forth Mid-Suburban East opener came down to the final six seconds at Hersey Friday night.
Visiting Prospect fell behind but rallied in the fourth quarter, hitting 10 free throws in the final minutes to take a 3-point lead over the Huskies.
Then the Knights came up with a big stop at the end to survive a 54-51 boys basketball win at Ken Carter Gymnasium in Arlington Heights.
Prospect senior guard Matt Woloch scored a game high 20 points, including 11 in the third quarter.
"Players across the country go from their junior year to their senior year and all of a sudden go to from being on the scouting report to being 'the' scouting report," said Knights coach John Camardella. "Matt, who was coming off a 32-point game against Evanston, can't hide anymore.
"We talked about that. The way he stayed with it tonight, his ability to stay the course despite how guys were guarding him and adjust, I was so proud of him."
Prospect held a 22-20 halftime lead, but 9 straight points after intermission from Woloch saw the Knights draw away to a comfortable advantage.
Then Hersey responded, and the game went to and fro in the final minutes before the Knights took a 4-point lead late after free throws from Chase Larsen and Owen Schneider.
Prospect held a 3-point advantage when Hersey took possession of the ball with six ticks left and called time out.
"We were trusting coach (Austin) Scott to draw up a good play and he did," said Huskies senior Daniel Clawson. "I thought we ran it really well but unfortunately it didn't come out the way we wanted it to."
Hersey got the ball to junior guard Andrew Wagner, who took a shot for a game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer. The attempt was right on line but just bounced off the back of the rim as the horn sounded.
"Coach Scott runs incredible sets," said Camardella of the game's final play. "He runs a lot of misdirection and they (Hersey) got a great look. We talked about guys looping off, and at this point of the season you're not going to know every special play that every team's got. I was proud of the way our guys defended it -- they caused just enough alteration to the shot that we were able to come out of there with a win."
"We kind of got mixed up a little bit (on Hersey's final 3 attempt)," said Woloch, "off the ball screen. But we had Matthew (Prospect senior McAleer) who recovered and a got a hand up and we were able to come out with the W."
Junior forward Ben Randall led Hersey with 11 points, Wagner had 10 while Clawson and teammate Ethan Roberts finished with 9 each.
Larsen scored 9 points for the Knights, Colin Carroll had 7, and Prospect was strong on the boards as well as Woloch grabbed 7 rebounds.
"Great start to the conference season," said Woloch. "Coming in to someone else's house and winning the first game of the East season is huge for us. It's great for our confidence going forward."
"Defensively we were playing with a lot of lineups tonight," said Camardella. "We were down a couple guys, but a lot of our guys came off the bench ready to play and step up in the big moments. I think we're getting better as a team and we were able to pull one out on the road."