Buffalo Grove boys basketball coach Keith Peterson was hoping that this would be a turnaround season for his Bison.
The host Bison added to the trend in that direction with a thrilling 87-77, three-overtime win over Grayslake North on Saturday night.
"It was a good win for us," said Peterson. "It shows how we have learned how to close out ballgames. Our focus in all three of the overtimes was very good."
The Bison (10-6) had to make comebacks in regulation and in the second overtime to pull out the win.
The Knights (9-3) led 68-62 with 1:14 left in regulation on the second of James Connolly's two free throws. With :59 left, BG's Zach Fricke scored his only basket on a 3 to tie the game.
Buffalo Grove then had a chance to win it, but a 3 attempt at the buzzer missed.
BG's Mac Camardo connected on 2 free throws to start the overtime, but 2 free throws by Jamal Thomas tied it with 1:41 left.
Thomas and Ryan Connolly came up with steals and scored to open a 74-70 Grayslake North lead to start the second overtime. And Chris Kelly hit the second of a two-shot foul for a 75-70 lead with 2:30 remaining.
The Bison's Jack Vaselaney helped knot the game at 75 with a 2-point basket and then a 3 with 1:11 left.
"The screens I got from my teammates on that play made all the difference," said Vaselaney.
With :10 remaining, Thomas missed in the lane, with Camardo rebounding. The Bison called time out and Vaselaney's 2-point attempt missed the mark with :01 left.
The third overtime belonged to Buffalo Grove.
Vaselaney started off with a layup basket but was matched by Thomas' 2 free throws.
Vaselaney assisted to Camardo with 2:05 left and Tom Trieb assisted to Camardo for a 81-77 lead with 1:10 left.
Vaselaney hit 2 free throws, and Colin Calcagno (23 points, 5 rebounds) hit all 4 of his free throws to finish the game.
Caleb Mayhorn played a key role in the fourth quarter, scoring 8 of his 16 points before fouling out late in the quarter.
"Caleb has continued to grow with his confidence," said Peterson. "He showed good flashes but now it's more consistent."
"Everyone was involved in this win," said Mayhorn. "Our goal is to play never-give-up basketball. Early in the season we had lapses, but we've learned from them. We've learned how to win games like this. Now we've won 10 games for the first time in several years."
The Knights had some terrific performances, especially from Thomas (30 points, 12 rebounds). James Connolly added 25 points and 8 rebounds. Ryan Connolly scored 12 points, and the Knights connected on 28 of 39 free throws. In the overtimes, though, Grayslake North made just 5 of 12.
Vaselaney led Buffalo Grove with 25 points, while Camardo scored 14 to go with 12 rebounds and 5 blocked shots. The Bison had 10 blocks for the game.
"This was a huge win for us," said Vaselaney. "As a program we're looking ahead but taking one game at a time. We were talking in the locker room afterward and said this was really a fun game to play in."
Peterson felt that this game was a key to the team's identity.
"We just keep building our confidence," said Peterson. "We continue to build as a team and individuals."