In pressure situations, experience is the best teacher.
And Kyle Bolger and Schaumburg's boys basketball team have learned their lessons well.
It didn't matter how big Prospect's student section was, that the Knights had twice as many rebounds or that the Saxons appeared poised to win in regulation before a clutch 3-pointer from Bobby Frasco sent the 43rd Mid-Suburban League championship into overtime.
What did matter was that a senior-laden Schaumburg squad put all of that in the rear-view mirror.
Behind a game-high 24 points from Bolger, the Saxons emerged with a 43-40 double overtime victory in front of a packed house at the Jean Walker Field House.
Schaumburg (17-9) becomes the eighth repeat champion in league history and first since Conant in 2007 and 2008.
"We wanted to make sure that we kept our composure throughout the game," Bolger said. "We knew there would be a lot of people here and that it would be loud. But the game is played on the court. We made sure this week that we focused on that. Nothing else outside of the game matters."
Frasco opened the second overtime with a tough shot in the lane but Bolger responded by finding an open Jimmy Lundquist, who knocked down a 3-pointer for a 41-40 lead that Schaumburg wouldn't relinquish.
Bolger capped a 10-for-12 night at the free throw line with two big ones with 37 seconds left to set the final outcome as Prospect (15-10) missed a late 3-pointer that would have sent the game to a third overtime.
"It was gut-wrenching," Frasco said. "There were so many turnarounds. We were up, they were up. It was back and forth the whole time and just a fun game to be in."
"It was great high school players doing whatever they could to win a conference championship," said Prospect coach John Camardella.
Tommy Flahaven, who played all 40 minutes, drained his second 3-pointer of the night for a 31-26 Prospect lead with 5:55 left.
Bolger responded immediately with a nifty drive to the hoop, 2 free throws and one of his 4 assists to Carlos Sarasti for a layup.
Bolger's 2 two free throws put Schaumburg up 36-31 with 45 seconds left.
"He's a warrior," said Schaumburg coach Matt Walsh of Bolger. "He's tough as nails. I'm certainly not surprised because we've seen him do it for three consecutive years at this level."
But Frasco, who paced the Knights with 19 points, scored on a drive with 39 seconds left before his 3-pointer with 12 seconds left to tie the game sent the home crowd into a frenzy.
"I was standing out there open for a little and I saw the ball keep moving around and I knew I would hit that when I got it," Frasco said. "Credit my teammates for passing it."
"Right after he hit that shot, we came to the bench and we just wanted to make sure that it was just one play," Bolger said. "There's going to be runs throughout the game. They hit a big shot, but we're still in the game."
Lundquist (9 points, 6 rebounds) forced a second overtime on a free throw with 38 seconds left.
Mike Houghton (7 points, 9 rebounds) and Devin O'Hara (6 points, 8 rebounds) led a 29-14 Prospect advantage on the boards.
"It was an uphill fight all night and that's a credit to Prospect," said Walsh, who used seniors Bolger, Lundquist, Sarasti, Cole Reyes and Bobby Green for both overtimes. "They really took it to us on the glass. I thought that was one of the real differences in the game.
"I'm just very proud of our guys embracing the atmosphere and the challenge," Camardella said.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.