By Jack Ankony
Executive Sports Editor
Senior Knight at the Jean Walker Fieldhouse had a special twist to it on Feb. 16. With a win, the boys’ basketball team would move to 10-0 in the MSL East and reach 20 wins for the second season in a row, something that hasn’t been accomplished since the 1984 and 1985 seasons.
After trailing 8-2 to Wheeling to start the game, these record setting accomplishments looked for a second like they might be put on hold. However, a 15-0 run in the third quarter led by senior David Swedura with 17 points, the Knights cruised to a 51-33 win.
“I think defensively we were able to throw a lot of different stuff at them,” Camardella said. “I think between the zone, the press, and just being who we are defensively was great.”
The Knights switched their starting lineup tonight for senior night starting all seniors: Swedura, Tim Lussenhop, William Isherwood, Luka Djogo and Pat McPartlin.
“The slow start is going to happen,” Camardella said. “You are playing with a lineup that you never play with to honor those guys and give them a shot.”
Camardella thinks that McPartlin did a nice job of steadying the Knights’ offense in the first half with back-to-back baskets, finishing with four points.
“It was absolutely incredible,” Camardella said. “To get everyone involved tonight, to get everyone out on the floor tonight, it was what I was telling everyone in there. Those seniors are just so special. I meant what I said about the sacrifice for this team, guys willing to accept those roles and relish those roles is why we are sitting where we are at right now.”
Swedura thinks it was just a matter of time until the Knights calmed down and opened up their lead.
“I think just playing loose was key,” Swedura said. “This is our last home game as seniors and we just really wanted to be loose and play our game.”
Swedura inched closer to the 1000 career points mark with 17 points to put him at 991 in his three years as a varsity starter. This win also put Swedura’s record in the MSL East at 27-3.
“That’s the best record of any player I have ever coached and we have coached some really good players,” Camardella said. “If you look at his last two years, he has 43 wins total and we are not even done yet. These are numbers that are really rare in high school and he is one of the greatest to play here without a doubt.”
Often double teamed in this game, Swedura let the game come to him.
“I just try to get what I can,” Swedura said. “I try not to force anything, take what the defense gives me. I just try to attack the rim when I can.”
Camardella thinks this game helped define Swedura’s legacy as a Knight.
“I thought he was playing downhill meaning he was playing at his full speed,” Camardella said. “Looking at film of how teams have guarded [Swedura] to the point of being willing to lose to make sure they contained it. It is very difficult to overcome. Mike LaTulip faced it, Bobby Frasco faced it, Frankie Mack faced it last year, and David is just the next guy in line to face it where teams are going to really be keyed on him.”
The Knights clinched the MSL East two weeks ago in their win over Rolling Meadows and are now looking forward to a matchup versus Barrington in the MSL Championship game on Feb. 21.
“I am really excited,” Camardella said. “I want to watch some film from tonight and see where to go from there. I think the biggest thing is defensively how we want to guard and then figuring out how they are going to guard David.”
For Swedura, he is proud of what the Knights have accomplished so far, but he is eager for more.
“Looking at the MSL Championship, these are the most important games of the year and going onto the playoffs this is a great way to build on that,” Swedura said.