Knights hang tough with Wildkits in season opener


By Jack Ankony, executive sports editor
Junior Sam Murray faded to the corner and buried a three seconds before buzzer sounded for the end of the third quarter. This gave the Knights their first lead of the game after being down by as much as 12 in the first half.
“Once we got our legs underneath us I think we got great contributions off the bench and it really put us in a place to challenge to win the game,” head coach John Camardella said.
Nine turnovers in the first quarter handed the Knights a 17-5 deficit after the first quarter. However, the Knights settled down and had a chance to win in the end, but came up short, losing 63-58 to the Evanston Wildkits in their first game of the season.
“Digging out of a hole is always hard, but digging out of a hole against a team that is that athletic is even harder,” Camardella said. “I am so happy with the way we didn’t quit. We got so much production from a lot of guys and we have a lot to learn.
The Knights got two quick baskets from junior Jon Kreidler and senior David Swedura at the start of the third quarter to shift momentum on their side. A back and forth second half put the Knights up five points with 6:50 remaining. After nine points from freshman Blake Peters, the Wildkits didn’t look back.
“To come back and win the second and third quarters was great and we just came up a little short in the end,” Camardella said. “But I am very happy with the way our guys battled. We got contributions from all over the place.”
Murray scored 12 points and senior Jalen McLachlan gave the Knights a boost defensively and on the glass. Swedura lead the Knights in scoring with 15 and Kreidler contributed nine points.
“The last three quarters were great,” Camardella said. ”Guys were just tentative at first and that is going to happen when it is your first game. Hopefully we come out a little more confident tomorrow.”
Swedura credits this comeback to the team calming down, as well as finding open looks both beyond the three point line and inside by driving and kicking.
“We knew we started off really slow,” Swedura said. “But we stopped panicking and we knew we had to slow down, get our minds right and let the games come to us and we started to do that in the second half. We started to execute and run our offense well in the second half to get open looks and hit them.”
The Knights will go on to face the Saint Viator Lions at 7 PM on Nov. 22. Camardella thinks taking care of the ball and controlling rebounds will be important for the Knights in order to win.
“I think our feet left the ground a lot on passes today and that hurt us down the stretch,” Camardella said. “I think we shared the ball well, we shot the ball okay, but it is going to be a lot of the same thing. Viator has a lot of really good players and I think matching intensity is going to be key.”
Junior Jeremiah Hernandez and senior Peter Lambesis are the go-to-guys for the Lions, and it will be important for the Knights to keep them in check.
“Tomorrow we have to execute,” Swedura said. “We have to take care of the ball and keep going forward.”