By Brian Thomas
Last weekend, the boy’s basketball team played in their first tournament of the season at St. Patrick’s high school in Chicago. The Knights played very well as a team and won the entire tournament.Senior Joe LaTulip, sophomore Mike LaTulip and seniors Nsenzi Salasini and Jake Suckow were all named to the All-Tournament team and Joe LaTulip, who averaged 21 points per game, was named the tournament M.V.P.
In the first two games they played Senn and Longwood, and they handled both of them quite easily. They beat Senn 77-48 on Wednesday and they beat Longwood 82-24 on Friday.
Then on Saturday, the Knights played their host, state-ranked St. Patrick for the championship. Prospect trailed early in the second quarter but with about 2 minutes left in the second quarter they went on a 9-0 run to make the score 27-24 at the half. In the fourth quarter with about 1:45 remaining, Prospect was down by 3. Then, Mike LaTulip (11 points per game) hit a game tying three that would send the game into overtime with a score of 45-45.
Prospect trailed in overtime 49-48 when Joe LaTulip drove the lane and was fouled with 4.2 seconds left. He went to line and calmly hit both free throws that won the game for the Knights, 50-49. LaTulip said he loves to have the ball in his hands at the end of the game and wasn’t nervous at all.
“To me, shooting those free throws was just like being at practice,” LaTulip, who has shot 93 percent from the line so far, said. “Coach [John Camardella] puts us in those pressure situations all the time for times like these and I had all the confidence in the world that I would make them and win the game.”
“Throughout this tournament our team really stayed together and we meshed as a unit,” Camardella said. “We learned that we can play with just about anyone and we can hold our own against them and that really gives us a lot of confidence.”
This game also showed LaTulip a lot about this team.
“I think we showed the state that we are a team to be reckoned with,” LaTulip said. “We played one of the top teams in the state, went into their gym, and beat them in overtime. It was a great win and gave us a ton of confidence.”
There are still things that the Knights need to improve on, though.
“We really need to focus on giving a better effort on the boards,” Camardella said.. “It doesn’t matter how much bigger the other team is, we need to be able to rebound the basketball. We also need our defense to rotate much faster.”
“We are definitely ready for them,” Joe LaTulip said. “Now we know where we are at as a team after playing St. Patrick’s and we are more than ready to defend our MSL East title.”