Buffalo Grove declared itself prepared for today's game against state-ranked Stevenson with its 63-26 homecourt win Friday over Christian Liberty Academy.
Are the Bison (2-1) truly ready and able? They'll find out at 7:30 p.m. Saturday when they tangle with Jalen Brunson, Conner Cashaw and Co. for the Bison Classic championship.
In the meantime, they got their shooting touch and confidence back in steadily pulling away from the game but outmanned Chargers (0-3).
The Bison bounced back nicely from their 64-51 loss Wednesday night to Grayslake Central (3-1), which beat Elgin on Friday night to lock up at least a share of second place in the tournament.
"We're very excited," said coach Keith Peterson about playing Stevenson, the defending state Class 4A runner-up.
His players were already eager for it immediately following the victory over Christian Liberty.
"They said 'Let's just be ready for (Saturday) night," Peterson said.
However, they started out Friday night's game the same way they finished Wednesday's; sluggish and off target.
While the Bison were misfiring on 11 of 15 first-quarter shots, Christian Liberty was getting 3 field goals without a miss from junior swingman Paul Weiss (15 points) and the school with about 150 kids was within 10-8 after one.
"I was real happy with how we played, especially early on," said Chargers coach Jed Bennett. "We really hung with them."
For most of the first half, too.
Even when Weiss got in foul trouble, Ben Daniel, Tenyu Aikawa and Nick Salomonson picked up the scoring.
But BG's depth, athleticism and speed proved too telling.
Andrew Apel (18 points) hit three straight shots and four, in all, in the second quarter, including a 3-pointer.
Scott Smithern and Ryan Williams (9 points) each had a 3 as BG got the lead out to double digits by halftime, 31-17.
Ten different Bison scored, including junior forward Nate Woten, whose two fourth-quarter breakaway dunks gave the crowd a jolt.
Christian Liberty could only manage 9 points in the second half.
"We played like we were tired," said Bennett, who wants his team to value the basketball.
"Having a good possession every time," he said, is at the top of his list of goals, especially when the Chargers go back into Northeastern Athletic Conference play against schools more their own size.
Speaking of which, BG would like to cut Stevenson down to size. But the Bison know it will be a tall order.
"It's a great challenge," Peterson said. "It's a fun game to have at home."