2014-'15 Season Coverage
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Buffalo Grove's shooting, defense sink Zion-Benton

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Buffalo Grove's shooting, defense sink Zion-Benton
Bill Esbrook

Buffalo Grove's performance against Zion-Benton Tuesday night was live in 3-D.

Three as in 3-point shooting, and D as in defense.

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The Bison hit 10 of their 19 three-pointers and held the No. 6 Zee-Bees to 2 points in the third quarter en route to a 63-41 victory in the semifinals of the Bison Class 4A girls basketball regional.

BG set a school record for 3-pointers in a season (202) in the process.

"The girls are confident and believing in themselves," said Bison coach Stephen Kolodziej. "I've been telling them for a long time that they're a really good team, and they're starting to believe it."

The No. 11-seeded Bison (14-15) will face No. 3 Prospect (23-5) for the regional title on Thursday at 7 p.m.

In what might have been its most complete game of the season, BG finished 17-of-18 at the free throw line, broke the Zee-Bees' full-court press with ease, outrebounded ZB and played suffocating defense.

Sophomore Maddie Welter led the winners with 23 points (five 3-pointers) while senior forward Auri Hampton paced the Zee-Bees with 8 points and a game-high 12 boards.

"We just couldn't get it going," said Zion-Benton coach Tanya Johnson. "We were missing layups and not boxing out right from the get-go."

A Welter 3 put the Bison ahead 26-13 midway through the second quarter, and only the sharpshooting of ZB senior guard Haily Ruple (8 points) kept Zion in the game.

A driving layup from junior guard Julie Jambrone (11 points) extended the Bison lead to 23 late in the third quarter and BG didn't allow ZB a point in the period until Hampton hit a basket with 1:01 remaining.

"We came out wanting to push the ball and play fast," Jambrone said.

Even when ZB got a spark BG was able to grab the momentum back.

Zee-Bees guard Carlie Fernandez opened the fourth quarter by swishing a long 3-pointer but Bison guard Bri Kolbus nailed a 3-pointer seconds later on the other end to stem the tide.

Welter scored 8 of her game-high points in the final period as Buffalo Grove (14-15) won its fourth straight.

Kolbus and teammates Sammy Stejskal and Maddy Callahan each scored 7 points, while 5-11 ZB junior forward Mia Yarbrough was held to 2 points.

"We came out with a game plan to stop their number 44 (Yarbrough)," Welter said. "She's a great player."

Tyvena Scafe added 8 points for the Zee-Bees.

"Nothing really surprised me about (Buffalo Grove) tonight," Johnson said. "What surprised me was Zion. We came out with no energy."

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