Mundelein holds off Prospect's upset bid
Mundelein went into an opponent's court for the second game in a row and survived host Prospect's upset bid with a 46-42 win Tuesday in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinals in Mount Prospect.
The Mustangs (30-4) will meet North Suburban Conference rival Stevenson for the sectional title on Friday. Stevenson advanced by beating Zion-Benton 61-52 in the first half of the doubleheader.
Mundelein (30-4) broke the school record for wins (29) set in 2010-11. But the Mustangs had their hands full until the final minute.
"They have a great student section and we knew there would be some hostility here," Mundelein coach Matt Badgley said. "We have played different places like that this year. Our kids enjoy that atmosphere."
Prospect controlled the tempo in the first half and forced Mundelein to bring 6-foot-8 Scottie Ebube out on top. Chase Larsen, who had 9 of his 19 points in the first quarter, was able to sneak in behind the defense and get a layup as Prospect opened up a 15-9 lead with 6:12 left in the first half.
Mundelein continued the pressure on top and protected the basket better as the Mustangs were able to pull to within 18-17 at the half on Conor Enright's 3-pointer.
The Mustangs continued that momentum and jumped to a 23-18 advantage early in the third quarter.
Prospect (16-16) refused to yield and put together its own rally to surge ahead 27-23 on a 3 by Brian Dini, who would finish with 11 points.
Mundelein then found the range as Enright had a pair of 3s and a layup, Chris Rooney converted a 3 and Trey Baker, who finished with 11 points, had a pair of free throws. That enabled the Mustangs to put together a 13-2 run to close out the quarter and lead 35-29.
"It was tough going out there," said Enright, who led the Mustangs with 13 points. "It was physical out there."
Again Prospect would not go away.
The Knights cut the lead to two on a pair of occasions. They then got it down to one on a basket by Dini with 1:35 to play that made it 42-41.
Mundelein's Syam Atade hit a pair of free throws to increase the lead to 44-41.
On Prospect's next possession, Matt Woloch was able to draw the fifth foul on Ebube. Woloch made just 1 of the 2 free throws making it 44-42 with 40.4 seconds to play.
The Knights fouled Ebube's replacement, Ty Moenning, who had yet to see any action prior. With the Prospect student section going wild, Moenning calmly nailed both free throws with 33.3 seconds left to make it 46-42.
"My coaches tell me to stay ready," Moenning said. "I have to give credit to them. We practice free throws all the time and I knew I would make them."
Prospect had an opportunity to get closer but the Knights missed a pair of shots down the stretch
It was a difficult end for Prospect, which won its first regional since 2009.
This Knights team was a complete rebuild after losing all of their starters from last season to graduation. Despite that Prospect, which was seeded 11th, made a nice run to the regional title. It was only the second time the Knights had won a regional under head coach John Camaradella.
"We had different level of focus heading into the regionals," said Camaradella, who has never had a losing season at Prospect in his 13 years as head coach.
"There are just tons of memories from this last week and a half. To see teenagers rally as a team and rally for another, it is great. Record aside, this team was able to pull off something that other teams over the past decade haven't been able to do."