Buffalo Grove didn't hesitate, Maine West did, and that was the difference Tuesday night as the host Bison edged the Warriors 64-62.
With BG trailing by 1 with less than 30 seconds to play, Buffalo Grove's Kyle Calcagno found himself wide open from 14 feet out. The senior immediately pumped the ball through the hoop to put the Bison up 63-62.
After Maine West missed, Scott Smithern rebounded and was fouled. He converted the second free throw to put Buffalo Grove up 64-62 with 7.1 seconds to play.
Maine West quickly inbounded the ball and Jamal Sherman brought the ball into the front court. He then passed to a wide open Matt Acevedo on the left wing. But just as Acevedo was about to catch the ball, Maine West coach John Bongiorno called for a timeout. Just after the official's whistled the timeout, Acevedo drained a 3-point shot which was correctly waived off by the officials.
After the timeout, with 2.8 seconds left, Anthony Dones caught the inbounds pass and was immediately double-teamed; his 3-point shot was short of the basket.
"I normally don't call a timeout in that situation," said Bongiorno, who was heard telling his players not to call a timeout after the free throws. "I don't like the teams to set up their defense. But when Sherman brought the ball up, he had a defender right in his face and I was worried he was going to turn the ball over. I didn't see Acevedo because he was over my shoulder behind me."
It was the third win in a row for Buffalo Grove (9-12), which got 19 points from Calcagno, 18 points from Andrew Apel, 9 points from Smithern and 7 points from Conner Reid.
"It was a nice win for us," Buffalo Grove coach Keith Peterson said. "They play a different game than we are used to seeing. They are very athletic, they spread the ball around on the court and they can score.
"That has how it has been the last few games. Andrew had been our guy the whole year, and he has needed help and the last 4 or 5 games we have had guys stepping up."
Buffalo Grove looked as though it was headed for an easy win. The Bison led by 14 in the first half and 12 in the second half. But on both occasions, Maine West (9-10) rallied to close to within 2.
"We got going a little too fast at times," Peterson said. "We had those 10-point leads, instead we kind of let up and let the game go."
Maine West was able to rally thanks to the 3-point shooting of Acevedo, who hit 4 in the game and finished with 14 points, and Sherman, who continued to drive to the basket and finished with 16 points.
But it was Apel who got the Bison going early and Calcagno, who scored 9 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, that kept Buffalo Grove ahead for all but 20 seconds of the game.
"It felt good," said Calcagno, who hit 4 treys. "I am just trying to be more aggressive and shoot the ball more. It is nice that they are starting to go in."
Apel was also happy to see his team pick up its shooting.
"We have had this defensive intensity all season,"Apel said. "We are finally making shots. We have been saying for the last three months, if the shots are going in we can make a run. We have to keep it that way."
Maine West, which had won their first 5 games in January, only to lose their last two games, got 10 points from Joel Ferraren, 8 points from Josh Redd and 7 points from Rag Patel.
"We are trying to get the program on the right track," Bongiorno said. "We do fight. We were hoping to build something tonight for our game Friday against Deerfield. Even with the loss, I think we have something to build off of."