Jalen McLachlan sparks Prospect past Rolling Meadows

Prospect's Jalen McLachlan (1) does a reverse layup against Rolling Meadows Friday 02-02-18. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

Prospect senior Jalen McLachlan’s basketball career started in a fairly common way.

“Freshman year I played football and broke my wrist,” McLachlan said. “I decided I needed something else to play. I didn’t like getting hit. So I started talking basketball seriously.”

McLachlan was a reserve on a very good Knights team last season, now he’s a starter. Friday in Rolling Meadows the 6-4 forward turned in a career-high 17 points and 10 rebounds to spark No. 21 Prospect to a 72-63 win over the Mustangs.

“[McLachlan] adds so much with his athleticism and his energy,” Prospect senior David Swedura said. “He’s just a spark with those back-to-back dunks. You’ve never seen that at Prospect before.”

Swedura is the rock for Prospect. The point guard finished with 17 points and four rebounds. He’s nearing 1,000 career points.

“[Swedura] is outstanding at making other guys better than they are, that is what I think a lot of people miss,” Knights coach John Camardella said. “”He’s started every game since sophomore year. In conference we are 25-3 with him as starting point guard. He’s going to leave quite a legacy here.”

Prospect (16-4, 8-0 Mid-Suburban League East) led 35-26 at half, the game was a slog with 58 free throws shot.

“It’s annoying, I’m not going to lie,” Swedura said. “We just tried to stick to our game plan and keep going.”

The game plan was to stop Rolling Meadows freshman Max Christie, who scored 20 points against Prospect in late December.

“It’s crazy that [Christie] has that much talent as a freshman,” Swedura said. “Going in to the game we knew we had to contain him. Me and Tim Lussenhop were the main two on him.”

The Knights held Christie to just three points and eight rebounds. He was 1-for-8 from the field.

Senior Gio Carrillo stepped up for the Mustangs and scored 30 points.

“We were really trying to limit [Christie] and Gio stepped up,” Camardella said. “This was a big game. We were able to clinch the [MSL East] outright with Hersey’s loss. There was a lot on the line for both teams.”

Lussenhop had 10 points and six rebounds for Prospect. Jon Kreidler scored 12 and Sam Murray added 11 points and five rebounds on the bench.

Willis Goodwin scored 12 for Rolling Meadows (10-10, 5-3), which was on a six-game winning streak. Ryan Carney added 10 points.

Prospect out-rebounded the Mustangs 39-29.

The Knights play hard and unselfishly. Swedura is a known factor around the area, but the emergence of an athletic post player like McLachlan could take Prospect far in March.

“I can build on this,” McLachlan said. “I still have a ways to go as far as getting more comfortable with the game and starting off strong but this year has been amazing, all my teammates are behind me. The seniors from last year texted me over the summer to work and get better and come back as strong as I can.”

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