Knights claim MSL East title in rout of Hersey


By Jack Ankony, executive sports editor
The Knights came out firing on all cylinders offensively. The Jean Walker Fieldhouse erupted time after time in the first quarter as the Knights seemingly couldn’t miss from three.
Prospect broke out to a 21-11 lead after the first quarter in a game against the rival Hersey Huskies that would decide the MSL East champion, and their lead never diminished. Prospect claimed a 77-53 win on senior night, a game none of the players will forget.
“This was just a huge one,” senior Frankie Mack said. “Especially after losing the first East game of the year, we had a terrible feeling after that game, but I thought coming out firing this game we knew we had to avenge that loss we had at the beginning of the year. We came out and did what we needed to do.”

Prospect’s senior Michael Ritchie (#30) and Hersey’s senior Eddie Mleko (#45) jump for the tip off in the matchup of two MSL East rivals on Feb. 17. Ritchie scored 9 points on of 4-7 shooting. By beating Hersey 77-53, the Knights will move on to face undefeated Fremd in the MSL championship game.

The hot shooting Knights were 29-57 from the field and 11-27 from three-point land. Senior Frankie Mack led all shooters with 28 points on 11-14 shooting for a blazing 79 percent. The Knights’ versatile forward, senior Matt Szuba, contributed 14 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks. Junior David Swedura scored 10 points, and 9 points were added by senior Michael Ritchie.
“Going into the game we were all hyped,” Mack said. “Everyone was playing with confidence. Everyone had a little extra in their step; it was just great. Everyone was flinging that thing and it was going in and it felt good to see everyone make it whether it be me, Szuba, [Michael Ritchie], everyone was hitting, so that was good.”
Head coach John Camardella was very proud of how two of his senior leaders played in this game.
“[Mack] is one of the best scorers I have ever been around and [Szuba] is such a versatile player. [Szuba] controls a lot of our offense, a ton of it. He has the ball in his hands and 70-75 percent entries are going through him and we feed off that.”
Camardella explains that the win over Hersey was a perfect example of Frankie and Szuba realizing goals and his leading the Knights to that victory.
In the last matchup of these two teams, the Huskies were victorious in a 73-71 overtime thriller at Hersey. Hersey’s senior point guard Joey Coffaro poured in 28 points in the first matchup, but was shut down for much of the game by seniors Grant Whitebloom and Grant Zellmer who held Coffaro to 8 points.
“The biggest thing was that we had to contain [Coffaro’s] dribble,” Camardella said. “We had to contain his dribble. He is so good, so shifty. He is able to get by guys quickly and I think Grant Whitebloom is as good laterally as anyone I’ve coached, and Zellmer is very long and athletic.”
Mack believes it was the Knights’ depth that propelled them to the win and has helped them tremendously throughout their streak of winning every game in 2017.
“We can go all the way through our bench, and guys play a huge role for us,” Mack said. “Even the guys that played scout team for us this week played an incredible role for us in this game.”
Looking ahead, the Knights have a huge matchup on Feb. 22 versus the Fremd Vikings for the MSL Championship at the Jean Walker Fieldhouse.
“It’s going to be a great environment. Today was a great environment; I can only imagine what Wednesday is going to bring us,” Mack said. “They are undefeated, so maybe we can give them their first loss here at home.”
Wednesday’s matchup at 7:30 p.m. will be the first time in four years that the Knights host the MSL Championship game.
“It’s all you can ask for,” Camardella said. “A 25-0 team coming in here to play for the MSL Championship, you can’t ask for any more than that. It’s a whole different ball game when you come here.”