Shaw's hot shooting helps Prospect beat Wheeling
A granola bar.
And a banana.
That's what Prospect junior guard Marco Shaw consumed before a 6 p.m. boys basketball game at Wheeling Friday night.
The 5-foot-10, 145-pounder then provided a feast for the eyes of Knights teammates and coaches and fans, hitting 8 of 10 3-point shots -- after an 0 for 2 start from long range -- en route to a 28-point night in a 67-39 Prospect rout.
Shaw's marksmanship certainly satisfied Prospect coach John Camardella, who hadn't eaten dinner before the Mid-Suburban League East contest.
"Without a doubt, Marco Shaw was the story tonight," Camardella said. "What a night he had, huh? We encourage our shooters to continue to find space during possessions and then be ready to shoot, and Marco did that often. But that's only half the battle; shooters' teammates have to get the ball to them, and the shooters have to shoot well. 'On time, on target' -- we focus on that; we stress that."
The teams combined for only 8 points in the first 5 minutes, a span that had about as much rhythm as a dancer with bum knees. Knights senior forward Colin Carroll netted a trey with 31 ticks left in the first quarter, giving the visitors an 8-3 lead. Wheeling (6-10, 1-3) scored the first 4 points of the second quarter before Prospect (8-9, 2-2) seized control with a game-turning 16-3 run.
The eruption featured 7 points from Shaw and 4 from junior guard Gary Moeller. Forty-one seconds later, Shaw answered a 3-pointer from Wheeling junior guard Jaden Terrell with a 3-pointer of his own. Yet another trey, this one off the hands of Knights senior guard Steve Mack, stretched the advantage to 30-13 with 38 seconds remaining in the half.
"The key was our defense," said the team-first, unassuming Shaw, who had no idea what his previous high in 3-pointers made in a game was. "We scored a lot in transition."
How productive was Shaw? His fifth '3' ball of the night upped his point total to 19 -- 2 more points than Wheeling had scored at that point (6:01) in the third quarter. After Carmardella pulled Shaw late in the quarter, following Shaw's sixth triple Friday night, Prospect junior guard/forward Chase Larsen -- sitting near Shaw on the bench -- touched Shaw's right shoulder with his left hand.
But only briefly. A smiling Larsen (2 steals) then yanked his mitt away and flapped it rapidly, feigning Shaw's right wing was dangerously hot.
Shaw's final 3-pointer expanded Prospect's gap to 54-31 at 5:36 of the fourth quarter.
"I liked our pace, and I'm really proud of the way we played offensively," Camardella said, adding his team delivered a season-high 16 assists. "Our guys were selfless, kept the ball moving."
Sophomore guard Owen Schneider finished with 11 points for Prospect, and senior guard Matt Woloch tallied 7. Knights senior forward Brian Dini came down with a team-high 5 rebounds on Wheeling's Senior Night.
Senior forward Javen Reid (5 rebounds) paced Wheeling with 10 points, 2 more than classmate Christian McLaughlin's total. Wildcats junior guard Solomon Hudson (6 points, 6 boards) scored 5 of his team's 16 first-half points.
"As a head coach, as the leader of our program, I need to do a better job of preparing my team," Wheeling coach Michael O'Keefe said. "Prospect, clearly, was ready to play tonight. Prospect executed at a high level. I was impressed with Prospect. Good players, great coaching staff."
Wildcats sophomore guard Elijah Hutchinson (3 points) returned to game action for the first time since Dec. 20. He had been under concussion protocol.
"Athletic, with a lot of raw talent," O'Keefe said of the 6-2, 160-pounder. "Elijah played with a lot of energy. He made plays for us at both ends of the court."