Sammons' 3-pointer lifts Fremd over Prospect
Pressure-packed close boys basketball games are part of the Fremd-Prospect lore.
The two schools, who vied for the Mid-Suburban League title in 2018 and 2019, played a crossover Saturday night at Prospect's Jean Walker Field House and this one was no exception to the intensity level.
Fremd erased a 38-30 deficit to defeat the Knights 43-42 on sophomore Ryan Sammons' 3-pointer with five seconds left to play.
The 5-1 Vikings had to hold their breath as a free-throw line jumper by the Knights' Chase Larson went in and out of the basket as the buzzer sounded.
"Every time we come in here," said Fremd coach Bob Widlowski, "it seems like it's a final possession game. It just went back and forth, back and forth. It was a great crossover game. Too bad there were only 50 fans instead of 3,000."
"The games with Fremd have been like this in the past," said Prospect coach John Camardella. "Different teams, different lineups, different scores. It always come down to the wire."
With Fremd leading 19-16 at halftime, Larsen exploded for 12 of his team-high 21 points in the third quarter to give the Knights a 32-27 lead.
Following a 3-pointer by Prospect's Colin Votzmeyer, the Knights led 38-30 with 5:20 left in the game.
Center Jack Walsh became a force under the basket, scoring twice and grabbing 2 rebounds to keep the Knights from getting second shots.
Eli Schoffstall, who would score 9 points, stole the ball on an inbounds play following a Walsh basket to cut the Prospect (2-2) lead to 40-38 with 3:14 left. Chris Smyros tied the game at 40 before Votzmeyer (7 points) hit 2 free throws for Prospect with 18 seconds remaining for a 42-40 lead.
Fremd called time out to set up its inbound play.
"I drove the lane," said Smyros, who scored 13 points. "I kicked the ball out to Ryan who made the shot. Down the stretch we made big plays. We executed as well as we know we can down the stretch. I don't think we were nervous when they were up by eight. We were more frustrated because we had not been executing."
"The players did a great job executing that play on the fly," said Widlowski. "Chris' penetration in the lane helped develop that play. He played a great all-around game. He's been very steady for us all season."
Walsh's fourth quarter effort was a key factor in the win.
"I've developed my confidence as the season has gone on, " said Walsh, who added 10 points and 5 rebounds. "I didn't think they could stop my inside shot. Our defense was amazing down the stretch."
"A game like this will make us better," said Camardella. "You can't get away with mistakes when you play Fremd. They are just too good. We didn't execute on our last two offensive possessions before Larsen's shot. You need to learn from these types of situations to succeed."