Prospect cruises by Wheeling
Both Wheeling and Prospect converged on the main court at Jean Walker Fieldhouse Friday evening seeking to build on the momentum that each earned from a road Mid-Suburban crossover victory on Tuesday which would also even their MSL East record at 1-1.
The host Knights seized that momentum early and never let it go as they bolted past the visiting Wildcats 61-25 in Mt. Prospect.
"We were really excited and ready to play for sure," Prospect senior guard Alex Georgakas said after his game-high 16 points paced the victorious home squad's effort.
"We took advantage and got a lot of open looks early and kept going with it."
After a Zach Zalewski layup put Wheeling ahead 4-3 just 95 seconds into the contest, a Jake Parisi inside dish to Ben Schneider at the 5:49 mark of the opening stanza gave Prospect the lead for good at 5-4.
Georgakas took over for the Knights after that as he connected on the first of his four 3-pointers making the score 8-4.
By the time he drilled his next field goal from beyond the arc, the Prospect advantage swelled to 18-4 with 3:00 left in the first.
The Knights (3-5, 1-1) continued their dominance as they took a 31-9 lead into the second quarter and 43-15 at half.
It was in reference to those first 16 minutes that Prospect coach Brad Rathe cited in praising his team in successfully following up its 49-48 win at Palatine Tuesday.
"That was our No. 1 message. It was a great win, but it doesn't mean as much if we can't put together (another) win tonight. So I was very happy about that," Rathe said.
"The offense was good and we were clicking. We were moving the ball, we were executing, we were getting in and out of transition and we got good contributions off our bench. We didn't lose a beat when our subs came in."
While Prospect had the music in them, Wheeling (4-4, 0-2) struggled to find its offensive rhythm shooting just 22% (9-40) from the floor as it turned the ball over 15 times.
Senior guard Josh Hutchinson (11 points) was Wheeling's bright spot as he went 4-12 on the evening. Wheeling travels to Crystal Lake Central for a Saturday matinee.
Schneider (13 points) joined Georgakas in double figures for Prospect as they get a week off before back-to-back home games next weekend versus Elk Grove (Friday) and Highland Park (Saturday).
Georgakas views that schedule break as an opportunity for gain more familiarity with his teammates before their annual trip up to the Wheeling Hardwood Classic which commences on Dec. 27.
"There's a lot of new faces, so there's a lot to learn," Georgakas said. "Naturally, it happens but we've made a lot of adjustments after practices. We're playing good and we're really excited (as) we try to stack up some wins before the Wheeling Tournament."