Buffalo Grove standout guard Luke Potnick admitted that the Bison were having their troubles against visiting Elk Grove in the second half.
"We were struggling a little bit," said the senior, "including me on the offensive end."
But when the game was on the line, Potnick delivered.
With the score tied and only seconds remaining, the senior's drive to the hoop resulted in an Elk Grove foul.
Potnick, who had a game-high 21 points, calmly sank 2 free throws to give the Bison a hard-fought 58-56 Mid-Suburban East win Friday night.
"We lost our composure tonight," Potnick said, "especially me. We decided that we were going to win the game on defense and we locked down on 'D' at the end."
BG controlled the first half and went into the locker room with a 9 point lead after Potnick made 2 technical free throws.
"We came out soft in the first half and they took it to us," said Elk Grove coach Anthony Furman. "We dug ourselves a 9-point hole and you can't do that against a team like Buffalo Grove."
Elk Grove rebounded with a solid third quarter, led by the effort of junior guard Bryan Alcazar (12 points) on both ends of the court.
The Grenadiers battled all the way back and took a fourth-quarter lead, fell behind, then tied the game at 56-56 with 10 seconds left when Austin Amann (20 points) made a layup.
After a timeout Potnick drove the length of the floor and was fouled going to the basket.
"Coach (Ryan O'Connor) told me to take it to the hoop and I'd get fouled," said Potnick, "and he was spot on."
After Potnick's free thows with 2.6 seconds remaining, Elk Grove got the ball inbounds to Amann for 1 last shot, but his off-balance 3-point attempt for the win bounced hard off the backboard.
Andrew Apel scored 15 points for Buffalo Grove, while Steve Soifer and Scott Smithern each pitched in with 9.
Kishan Patel scored 7 points for the Grens.
"We didn't lose the game at the end," said Furman,"we lost it in the first half. We did hurt ourselves at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter (the Grens were 3 of 7), but it wasn't so much about what we did down the stretch -- it was more about what we didn't do in the first two quarters."