Prospect handles Elk Grove
For Prospect to win Mid-Suburban East for a fifth consecutive season, it may be very well compared to the evening commute that area motorists endured Friday night -- a slow grind through treacherous terrain with some luck on the side.
The Knights completed round one of MSL East boys basketball play with a 69-49 win at Elk Grove Friday night to move to 3-2 in the East, two games behind Buffalo Grove (5-0) and a game in back of Rolling Meadows (4-1), both of whom handed Prospect their two divisional losses. BG earned sole possession of the MSL East lead by defeating Meadows Friday on its home floor 80-70.
"It's two teams that are still finding their identities and I thought both teams played pretty hard tonight," Prospect coach John Camardella said.
"I thought (Elk Grove) coach (Nick) Oraham had them ready. Those guys were running their plays, they were trapping us, they were bringing early help (on defense) which got us out of our rhythm a little bit of some of the sets we like to run."
The Knights, who evened their overall mark to 9-9 on the season, gained their foothold on the contest in two stages:
First it was a 7-3 run over the final 2:03 of the first half that featured 5 of sophomore guard Owen Schneider's 12 points that put them ahead in double-digits to stay with a 35-24 halftime lead.
Then, an 8-3 run over the final 3:22 of the third that erased any thought of a Grenadier comeback putting the visitors up 50-33 at quarter's end.
Prospect 6-5 senior Brian Dini, who scored 4 of his game-high 15 during in the late stages of the third, described his teammates' growing confidence as the season doing so by leaps and bounds.
"All the guys want to play. We work every day in practice and just the amount of growth we've had from the first game of the Viator tournament (November 25) it's just crazy (both) confidence and skill-wise."
In addition to Dini (10 rebounds) and Schneider's double-figure scoring, Prospect also had senior guards Steve Mack (13 points), and Matt Woloch (10 points) reach that plateau.
Camardella looks toward the beginning of half number two of MSL East play beginning with a Thursday home date versus Hersey.
"Our learning curve is steep," he said. "I think we've made progress on both ends of the floor. The key is continually making sure that our players know we have their back, but that we're also gonna hold them accountable. It is really about being competitive and cooperative and I think that's where we're at."
The Grenadiers (0-5, 2-15) were led by seniors Devin McKinney (12 points) and Jordan Miller (10 points, 9 rebounds).
Miller spoke of his team's scrappy, spirited style.
"We are always going out and giving our all," Miller said. "We will fight until the last minute of the clock. We just got to keep going like that and we can't have silly turnovers (18) like we did tonight. That'll cost us."