Prospect's rally falls short vs. Lyons Township
In the 11 years since Lyons Township began its annual Blackout home boys basketball game, it has developed into a unique event that has successfully blended both its student body as well as the LaGrange community into making the trek to this special contest.
In addition to donning special black home uniforms with the school colors of royal blue and gold used as trim, a fundraising effort is undertaken through the selling of merchandise as well as raffle tickets for a very special cause each year.
For a second straight year Prospect coach John Camardella has brought his team to Lyons Township to play in this game. A huge reason is the atmosphere the game has developed over time, an atmosphere similar to that of a Mid-Suburban League title game or that of a regional or sectional final.
"(Lyons head coach) Tom Sloan is a really good friend of mine and he's really nice to let us play here two years in a row," Camardella said. "I feel our program benefits at all levels -- win or lose. It's a great tuneup."
Friday's game, played in front of an estimated crowd of 2,500, lived up to that as the hosts held off a valiant effort by the Knights 48-42 to obtain their 20th win on the year. Prospect finished the regular season at 14-15.
The game's key moment turned from a fourth-quarter Prospect rally as it trailed 40-30 to start the final stanza. It would chip away with a 10-4 run that pulled the Knights within 4 at 44-40 on junior forward Chase Larsen's 19th and 20th points at the foul line with 41 seconds left.
Lyons (20-8) proceeded to seal the deal on an Anthony Georgelos layup and a pair of Grant Niego free throws in the closing seconds before a Matt Woloch putback at the buzzer accounted for the final score.
"Their second-half adjustments from the press into the zone really froze us. It was such a low possession second half," Camardella said.
Camardella also lauded 6-foot-4 junior Larsen's evening.
"Chase, I felt, early was assertive. He's really coming into his own. I was really proud of him. He did everything he could (tonight)," Camardella said.
Niego, a 6-2 senior guard who led LT with 19 points, spoke of the contest, which was also the Lions' Senior Night.
"We're just trying to prepare for our playoff game and to also know you can't take this crowd for granted. So I was trying to enjoy my last time (in the regular season) playing on this court."
Both squads now get set to began arduous postseason journeys Wednesday night in an attempt to play on their respective home courts the week after next in Class 4A sectional play.
The eighth-seeded Lions will face No. 9 Proviso East at the Argo regional while 11th-seeded Prospect faces No. 6 Barrington at the Grant regional.,