Buffalo Grove pulls away from Elk Grove
Buffalo Grove's boys basketball team showed Friday night that it is ready to handle any defense and play at any pace.
The Bison found their way against Elk Grove's sticky zone and got clutch performances from their upperclass veterans in a 59-46 Mid-Suburban East opening win on the Grenadiers' court.
Battling through a defense that clearly was limiting touches for slick-shooting freshman Kam Craft, BG (3-2, 1-0) was lifted by junior forward Nate Cole, who scored 21 points, including a quintet of timely 3-pointers that he seemed to hit every time the Grens (2-4, 0-1) made a run.
He was backed by Tom Trieb's 14 points, not the most eloquent, but definitely the down-and-dirtiest around the basket, battling big Ryne Singsank and never relenting on the boards. His lay in off a lob pass and his high-arching bank shot over the Elk Grove shot-swatting center proved pivotal in the final period.
"Seeing him out there, how hard he works, he's definitely a very good leader," Cole said of role-model Trieb, who's headed to Northern Illinois on a football scholarship. His hard work "carries over from football," Cole went on.
Elk Grove got back in the game in the third period when guards Riley Rathman and Michael Achanzar combined for 6 points and more importantly forced almost as many turnovers out of the Bison and forged the Grens ahead with help from perimeter shooting by Sean Cherry and Mark Matos.
But the Bison, paced by Trieb and Cole, found a way to get Craft involved, flashing him in the middle of Elk Grove's zone for two critical second-half buckets. He finished with 14 points.
"Kam kept fighting through it," Bison coach Keith Peterson said of the defense geared to limit him.
"The rest of the guys stepped up."
While recognizing Craft's ability, Elk Grove's first-year coach, Nick Oraham, recognized his team's bugaboo as well.
"We're averaging over 23 turnovers a game. It's just experience. We need to protect the ball better."
A lot better -- BG benefitted from 31 Grenadier turnovers, many of which turned into Bison points.
"It kind of leads to the pace we like to play at," said Cole.
"We try to play at quite a pace," Peterson echoed, noting the contributions of ballhandlers Conner Adams, off the bench, and starters Tyler Kipley and Mike Nowakowski.
BG had 14 turnovers but knocked down as many free throws while playing defense effectively enough to yield only 4 free-throw attempts for the Grens.