Boys' basketball falls, Conant takes home championship


By Paul Evers, staff writer
The Knights traveled to Conant on Wednesday, February 24 night looking to ride the momentum of their victory on Friday night against the Buffalo Grove Bison to clinch their spot into the MSL Championship Game. While the Knights fought valiantly, Prospect fell to Conant 41-35 on Wednesday night.
Junior Jimmy Sotos lead the Cougars with 20 points while the Knights were steadied by junior Matt Szuba’s 10 points, junior Frankie Mack’s 9 points and sophomore David Swedura’s 8 points. The Knights shot 15 of 39 (38%) for the game and hit 8 of 21 (38%) on shots from behind the three point arc.
Prospect had a tough time dealing with a stout Conant defense, being forced into 13 turnovers in the loss. Even with the rough performance, coach John Camardella still saw many positives in the loss.
“Every time we got down, we got back in it,” Camardella said. “Really proud of the effort, some of the shots our guys made, they made big plays.”
“[It] just came down to a couple of chances to get an extra shot. We turned the ball over down the stretch and it came back to haunt us.”
Even though the Knights came out slowly, trailing 12-7 after one quarter, they were able to scrap their way back to a manageable deficit of 18-14 at the half. Camardella wasn’t overly worried about the team’s first half play.
“We felt great at halftime because we didn’t play well at all in the first half, and we were only down four,” Camardella said.
The Knights did lose some ground in the third quarter, trailing 29-22 after the period. However to start the fourth the Knights went on an 8-0 run to close the game to 31-30 with 3:32 left.
Conant answered the run with a three pointer with 2:22 left to push the lead back up to four. Swedura then answered back with a corner three with 1:50 left to bring the Knights’ within one once again.
After that Conant forced a couple Knights turnovers and hit a few shots to push the game out of reach. However Carmadella was impressed with his team’s response to a tough game to that point.
“To get it [where] we had the ball down one [point] with two minutes left in the game, we just had two turnovers in a row and they pushed the lead back up,” Camardella said.
Even with the loss, Camardella is happy that his team got the experience of a winner-take-all game before their run in the state playoffs.
“It was there, the game was in the balance… these are the type of games that prepare you for the state tournament,” Camardella said. “There’s no better pregame for the state tournament than [a conference championship game].”
Prospect now looks forward to their regional matchup against Barrington next Wednesday. Camardella hopes his players will remember what it took to compete in the conference championship to fuel their play next week.
“[These] guys have played at the highest level and they know the level at which they have to operate, couldn’t ask for anything more,” Camardella said.