By Jack Ankony, executive sports editor
The Knights came out with defensive tenacity from the opening tip. While in their 1-3-1 defense, senior Jalen McLachlan used his speed and athleticism to steal a pass and take it the distance for an electrifying dunk, getting Prospect fans on their feet.
Whether it be man-to-man or a 1-3-1 zone, the Knights always had one goal in mind, according to senior Tim Lussenhop.
“We were able to set the tone,” Lussenhop said. “They weren’t really able to get into their offensive sets the way they wanted to because we were pushing them closer to the half court line with our pressure.”
Because of this defense, Prospect was able to get easy looks on offense. Four slam dunks, three from Lussenhop and one from McLachlan, excited the Jean Walker Fieldhouse and left Hersey stunned.
“[The dunks] were definitely a confidence booster,” Lussenhop said. “It gets the whole crowd involved and gets the bench up and that really helps for the next defensive possession.”
Though the Knights had three players with double-digit scoring, their focus in this game was always defense, according to head coach John Camardella. Camardella credits assistant coach Brad Rathe for an outstanding defensive gameplan and the players for executing that plan.
“We preached all preseason and into this season to turn our defense into offense and they looked like they were all about it,” Camardella said.
The Knights beat Hersey 60-32 with senior David Swedura leading all scorers with 20 points. Lussenhop followed Swedura’s lead with 11 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Junior Jon Kreidler contributed 10 points and was 2-2 from beyond the arc.
“Guys are ready to play,” Camardella said. “I always say that it is the greatest team game. We have nights like tonight when it doesn’t matter who is scoring, and that tells you that we have the ball moving and we are getting production from multiple places. Tuesday night David had 27 [points] and tonight it was spread out more and that shows that we can win in multiple ways.”
At the end of the first half, the Knights led 26-13 and could have coasted to a victory, but in the second half they turned up the defense even more.
“We just focused on our defensive principles,” Lussenhop said. “They only had 13 points in the first half and when you limit a team to 13 points in the first half our offense will be able to take care of the rest.”
Outscoring the Huskies 34-19 in the second half, Camardella describes the way they were playing as “relentless basketball.”
“We weren’t thinking that one play was going to win us the game, we knew the game wasn’t over,” Camardella said. “For us it was about putting their stamp on each possession in the game and I think Tim [Lussenhop] did that perfectly.”
After losing their first two games of the season, the Knights are now on a five game win streak. Camardella thinks the team is starting to find their identity and that is resulting in wins. Next week the Knights will travel to Buffalo Grove to play the Bison, who are seen as the Knights’ biggest competition for the MSL East title.
“They have vision, but they are not looking ahead,” Camardella said. “The guys know what is in front of them, but they don’t look ahead of the next practice in front of them or the next game. Tonight was a huge win for us because now we have a week before we go to Buffalo Grove, which will be a huge game for us and we have a lot of work to do. Watch some film, have some good practices and be ready to go.”