By Jack Mathews
Friday was a very eventful night for the Prospect basketball team as they celebrated the 50th anniversary of the legendary 1960-61 team and senior night at Jean Walker Fieldhouse. The Knights also had the added pressures of competing in front of a huge crowd, keeping their division home winning steak alive, battling Hersey for the MSL East title and even meeting older brothers expectations.
“I felt a lot of pressure from my older brother [Jack, who played last year], he would call after every game and say, ‘Three in a row, you have to keep it going,’ Terry Redding said.
All of the anticipation might have been a reason for why the Knights seemed a little too excited in the first half. Prospect struggled with clean passing and turnovers for a good part of the first half.
“I tried to talk to the guys about the distractions that were going to be present this game. A lot of emotions with senior night and obviously just the emotions of having the 1961 team back…and occasionally they got a little fast and tried to do a little too much,” coach Camardella said.
Senior Will Botefuhr helped keep Prospect in the game with his post presence and scored 10 points in the first half which gave the Knights a 30-28 lead going into the break. For most of the third Prospect and Hersey traded baskets and it ended tied at 50-50. But the fourth quarter was all Prospect.
The Knights used great ball movement and court awareness to find the open man and start off the final quarter with an 11-2 run. Overall, the Knights only missed one shot in the whole fourth quarter and scored a staggering 27 points.
“Down the stretch every shot we took everyone seemed to be wide open under the basket or wide open for a jump shot,” senior Dan O’Brien said.
That proved to be the key to success for the Knights and allowed them to shoot 71% from the field in the second half. The main distributors were senior point guard Grant Depalma with 7 assists, O’Brien with 6 and junior Mike Latulip with 3.
Prospect’s defensive effort was also strong as they held the Huskies to under 40% shooting and senior point guard Connor Miklasz to just 15 points and 30% shooting.
This win gave Prospect and Coach Camardella four consecutive MSL East titles as well as a great showing for the 1961 team. Instead of shying away, Prospect embraced the pressures that they knew would come with this game.
“The whole week our coach just kept telling us to have the mindset that ‘we won’t lose, we just can’t lose’, and that’s just what we kept telling ourselves,” Redding said.