Buffalo Grove center Mac Camardo needed to get more involved as the Bison hosted Hersey in Mid-Suburban East boys basketball Friday night.
Camardo went into halftime with 3 points and 2 rebounds.
When the game ended, the 6-foot-6 junior had 21 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and a blocked shot.
That was enough to boost the Bison to a 64-62 win over the Huskies, causing a three way tie in the conference race.
Though the Bison (5-4, 2-1) were leading 31-28 thanks to guard Jack Vaselaney's 17 first-half points, Buffalo Grove had to get inside.
"We challenged Mac at halftime," said Bison coach Keith Peterson. "I told him that when he got the ball he had to power it up. I thought our guards did a great job of getting the ball to Mac in areas where he would be successful."
"I tried to work harder in the second half to get the ball and take it to the basket," said Camardo. "We didn't give in tonight when Hersey made their run late in the game. We learned from that after last year. We've lost a couple of tough games but we've learned from it.
"I kind got on myself at halftime. For us to succeed, I have to play well on both ends of the court."
The Bison took a 43-41 lead to start the fourth quarter and opened up a 53-41 and 55-43 leads with 4:54 left in the game.
Camardo was instrumental with 6 points, 2 assists and his block during that run.
Hersey (4-4, 2-1) began chipping away behind Joe Coffaro (24 points) and Grant Wagner (13).
A basket by Coffaro, who showed why he is a premier player, under heavy pressure cut the lead to 56-53 with 2:53 left. The Huskies closed to 58 56 following Wagner's 3-point play with 1:13 left.
Camardo's 2 free throws with :09 left made it 62-56.
The Huskies' Daniel Gritt sank a 3 before Colin Calcagno (7 points) hit 2 free throws. Ed Mlekos' 3 from mid-court made it 64-62.
Coffaro kept Hersey in the game with 19 of his points in the first half. Chris O'Toole scored 5 of his 12 in the first half.
"We dug a hole for ourselves," said Hersey coach Steve Messer. "We created 10 turnovers in the first quarter and we trailed 17-8. We had our runs but Vaselaney hurt us in the first half and Camardo hurt us in the second half. He was able to get inside. At times we weren't in synch. We just didn't get much scoring inside."
Vaselaney praised the team, and Camardo, for the win.
"It was just great to be part of this win," said Vaselaney. "If there was a must game for us, this was it. I knew we had to get the 'W' tonight.
"I give Mac a lot of credit. He makes us go. I talked to him at halftime and told him to keep going up strong with the ball and he'd get some calls. He's one of the best passers I've seen -- he has good court vision."
Buffalo Grove likes the idea of being a major player in the conference picture.
"It's going to be a battle in the MSL East," said Peterson. "It's early, yes, after three weeks it's a three-team tie. I'm glad were in it."