Buffalo Grove pulls away from Grayslake Central
Make no mistake: Buffalo Grove can run; Buffalo Grove can shoot; Buffalo Grove can press, force turnovers and play defense.
Now, can the Bison win consistently?
This young varsity basketball team, sprinkled with many returning veterans, showed experience, savvy and no panic in rallying to a 65-43 win over Grayslake Central to open the season at home in the Bison Classic.
Even though they trailed most of the way and only had a 6-point lead after three quarters, the Bison never lost their composure. They lost the ball (14 turnovers) and missed some shots (10 of 23 in the first half), but they never lost their focus against a tall Grayslake Central team full of versatile talent and difficult matchups.
"I think we saw some nerves to open the game. We made some errors," said Bison coach Keith Peterson, whose team quickly turned a 30-27 halftime deficit into a 42-36 lead after three.
But after high-scorer Colin Calcagno (19 points) kept BG in the game in the first half with 4 consecutive 3-pointers, his sharpshooting backcourt runningmate Jack Vaselaney (17) picked up the pace, scoring 15 second-half points and leading a 9-point run in the third quarter that flipped the game.
It started with his mid-range jumper in transition and was followed by Mac Camardo's bucket on Kyle Adams' feed off of penetration. After Chris Tsevis put home a rebound on a fastbreak, Vaselaney's 3 following a steal by Adams closed the run.
Camardo, the inside enforcer for BG, was the beneficiary of the guards' penetration all night while blocking 3 shots at the other end and controlling the defensive boards.
The Bison maintained the pace into the fourth quarter as Grayslake's versatile 6-foot-4 star Kyle Spalding (12 points) got in foul trouble and Justin Shepley couldn't regain the hot hand he had in the first half.
"We just wore them down," Vaselaney said after BG went 10 deep in the first quarter alone. Zach Fricke, with a first-quarter 3-pointer, Adams, with his quick hands, Brendan Reid, spelling Camardo, and Tsevis, teaming with Adams, enabled BG to keep bringing fresh legs into the game.
"Depth, ball movement and post presence," are the big differences in this season's version of BG, said Vaselaney.
"You've got to hand it to them" said Grayslake coach Kosta Kougias. "They came out with more energy than we did," to start the second half."
As to Vaselaney's hot hand down the stretch, "We know the talent he is," said Kougias. "The kid can flat out shoot."
Grayslake Central will try to get in the win column against Christian Liberty on Tuesday while Stevenson makes its tournament debut against Glenbrook South. BG has the night off and can't wait to get back on the court Wednesday evening.
"I love playing with these guys," said Vaselaney.