Schneider's buzzer-beater sends Prospect past Stevenson
Prospect's Ben Schneider asked his mom Kate for a little advice before his team's sectional game with Stevenson.
"My mom told me, 'Let's Go!'"
Ben Schneider took his mom's words to heart. The sophomore dribbled downcourt as timing was ticking off. He then pulled up and nailed a basket as time expired to lift the Knights to a 45-44 win over Stevenson at The class 4A Barrington sectional Wednesday.
With the win, sixth-seeded Prospect (20-11) will play top-seeded Libertyville (28-5) in the Barrington sectional final at 7 p.m. Friday.
It was the second sectional game in a row at Barrington that ended on a last-second shot. Libertyville's Aidyn Boone converted a three-pointer on Tuesday to win it for the Wildcats.
Schneider knew just how Boone felt.
"It doesn't feel real," said a smiling Schneider, who was mobbed by his teammates and fellow students.
"The plan was for me to dribble down and fake hand off. They covered it well. We ran it well and I had to shoot the ball. I knew it was going in."
Prospect coach Brad Rathe said that he was impressed with Scheider's courage to take that shot.
"For a sophomore that is a big shot," Rathe said. "A big shot. What a moment for him. What a fun game. We tried to run Ben downhill and get Alex (Georgakas) to swing over the top and they kind of sagged down."
Schneider's shot obviously overshadowed a huge comeback by Stevenson (22-8) in the final 31 seconds.
Prospect led 43-39 with 31 seconds to play thanks to a trio of baskets by Cole Chapman. The Knights had a chance to increase that lead, but a missed free throw gave Stevenson some life.
The Patriots responded with a pair of free throws by Aidan Bardic with 23.1 seconds left to cut the lead to 43-41. Stevenson then pressured the ensuing inbounds pass and it was intercepted by Armand Burris.
After a timeout, the Patriots got the ball down low to David Sulnius, who powered his way for the tying basket and was fouled with seven seconds left. After a Prospect timeout, Sulnius' free throw spun around the rim and off the backboard before dropping through to put Stevenson up by one.
Prospect then inbounded the ball immediately to Schneider, whose basket was ruled a two-pointer since his foot was on the three-point line.
"We only needed two," Rathe said.
Rathe said the style of both teams predetermined a finish like this.
"They play so much like us," Rathe said. "You knew from the start that it would be a grind. They are hard to beat. It is hard to win these games."
Just like in their previous meeting on Jan. 21, which Prospect won 41-40, both teams again played a very deliberate style.
Stevenson was able to take an early lead with Jack Dabbs getting inside for baskets. Prospect was able to stay close with Georgakas answering for the Knights.
"I thought about the mistakes I had when we played them last time," Georgakas said. "I wasn't going to do that tonight."
Prospect led 18-17 at the half. The Knights then converted their first six shots of the third quarter and opened up a 35-29 lead.
Stevenson then used an 8-2 run open the fourth quarter, setting the stage for a wild finish.
"We didn't play as good of defense as we wanted all night long." Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose said. "And that was indicative of them."
Ambrose was please at the fight his team had at the end.
"I was proud of the kids of sticking to it," Ambrose said. "They battled back. We didn't give up and fought and did some good things. We just couldn't get that stop at the end."
Stevenson was led by Dabbs, who had 14 points and seven rebounds. Christian Uremovich had eight points, Sulnius seven points, Bardic six points and Brandon Sorkin five points.
Prospect, which shot 11-of-15 from the field in the second half, was led by Georgakas who had 14 points. Schneider had 11 points, Chapman eight points and Charlie Gilmer six points.