After a one year hiatus, the Mid-Suburban East belongs to Prospect once again.
But it was far from easy.
The Knights boys basketball team battled back from an 11-point first half deficit, overcame its leading scorer fouling out and got key contributions down the stretch from a pair of seniors on senior night to pull out a thrilling 70-68 double overtime victory over Elk Grove to wrap up its fifth East title in six years.
Tommy Flahaven sank the decisive free throw with 18 seconds left to break a 68-68 tie and Danny Thomas added another free throw with two seconds left to set the final margin.
There were more swings in that game than any weve played in all season, said Prospect coach John Camardella. With what was on the line for us, Im so proud of our guys.
It means everything, said Prospect senior Devin OHara, who took over once Bobby Frasco fouled out in the first overtime. Weve gone through some bumps this season, but this was really our game. This is what was going to make or break us. We did it, so it feels great.
Without Frasco (17 points, 9 rebounds), someone needed to step up offensively for Prospect (15-9, 8-1).
Enter OHara, who played his best all-around game of the season with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists.
The Knights held the ball for over a minute to start the second overtime but it was worth the wait as OHara scored on a drive to the hole. And after Elk Grove (11-13, 5-4) sophomore Matt Wary answered with a corner 3-pointer for a 67-66 lead, OHara calmly knocked down a mid-range jumper to steal the lead right back.
Whats funny is the other Elk Grove game, Bobby fouled out, too, OHara said. The same scenario. I knew that I needed to step up, so I did what I could and it worked out.
That second overtime wouldnt have even happened if it werent for the spectacular play of Elk Groves Austin Amann, who scored a game-high 30 points.
Trailing 64-61 in the first overtime, Amann hit a leaning, off-balance 3-pointer with 17 seconds left to tie the game.
I cant say enough about him, said Elk Grove coach Anthony Furman of Amann. Hes doing everything we ask of him.
Elk Groves Brian Kelly scored 6 of his 20 points in the final three minutes of regulation, including a layup with 50 seconds left for a 57-55 lead.
But OHara hit Frasco for a layup just 17 seconds later to force overtime.
In that overtime, Amann sank his 11th free throw of the game for a 61-59 lead but Prospect senior Mike Houghton (13 points) muscled his way inside for his third old-fashioned 3-point play of the evening.
Flahavens 2 free throws with 34 seconds left set up Amanns heroics.
Both teams made some plays down the stretch, Furman said. Its just a game of inches. Both teams had opportunities, they just ended up getting the last good one.