Prospect’s Owen Schneider guards Hersey’s Andrew Wagner. (Photo by Alexis Esparza)

Rick Lytle

It was a game of streaks from the beginning. Hersey opened the game on a 9-0 run, and, throughout the game, there were runs of 9-3, 8-2, 7-0 and 9-2 from both Hersey and Prospect. However, it was Hersey’s final 10-3 run in the last 4:30 of the game that put the Knights away. The Huskies escaped with a 54-47 victory over the Prospect boys’ basketball team in this Feb. 22 Mid-Suburban League matchup at Jean Walker Fieldhouse. 

Hersey finished the game with the same lead they came into the fourth quarter with–7 points–but Prospect made it clear early on in the fourth they were far from ready to throw in the towel. A scrappy offensive rebound from Prospect’s Owen Walter on the Knight’s first possession of the quarter was quickly followed by a Chase Larsen three-pointer to make it 40-36. Larsen finished the night with 22 points, with 14 of those coming in the second half.

“It obviously would have been better if we got the win … but I’ve had a good few games,” Larsen said. “Still, some of those shots feel a little bit lucky, but seeing it go through the hoop is always a good thing for your confidence.”

Prospect and Hersey battled back and forth, and after a three from Walter followed by another three from Larsen, the game was tied 42-42 with 5:15 left to play. However, after the game was tied again at 44-44, Hersey began to pull away.

Some uncharacteristic turnovers from the Knights, who had three turnovers in the fourth quarter to Hersey’s one, combined with six points from Hersey’s leading scorer Ethan Roberts put the game away. Roberts had 17 points on the night and was averaging about 35 points per game prior to the matchup against Prospect. 

Just like the fourth quarter, Prospect seemed to be playing catch up all night. As mentioned previously, Hersey took a 9-0 lead to start the game. Luke Zardzin, who, in addition to Larsen, was tasked with guarding Roberts, broke the scoring drought for Prospect with a layup at the three-minute mark of the first quarter.

Prospect was able to bring it back to an 11-8 game, but soon into the second quarter, Hersey had opened their lead again. After three-point makes from Hersey’s Andrew Wagner, Roberts and Griffin Ginder, Hersey had a 22-11 lead. Prospect was left, once again, clawing back into the game and went into the half trailing 24-19. 

“They hit multiple shots in a row, and we had a couple instances where we had back-to-back [scores,] but we haven’t been able to string multiple possessions in a row where we’re able to hit [shots] and build leads,” Prospect Head Coach John Camardella said. 

Prospect has had only one and a half true practices in the last fourteen days, and that seemed to catch up to them tonight. Overall, the Knights shot 37% from the field, compared to Hersey’s 62% field goal percentage and 60% 3-pt percentage. Hersey’s zone gave the Prospect offense trouble in the second and fourth quarter leading to low-percentage shots and a low overall field goal percentage.

The Knights showed flashes throughout the game, namely a brief 27-26 Prospect lead at the 6:10 mark of the third quarter thanks to back-to-back threes from Marco Shaw and a layup from Owen Schneider. The two finished with 12 and 5 points, respectively. Additionally, Prospect led the turnover battle 10 to 8 and held Roberts to his second-lowest scoring tally of the season.

Prospect hosts the Elk Grove Grenadiers Feb. 23 before playing six-straight road games that start with a trip to Hersey High School on Feb. 26. 

“It’s awesome to get to play [Hersey] again so soon because it’s fresh … we can figure out what we want to do, we can figure out that zone [and] we can really make adjustments before that game,” Larsen said.