Improved Buffalo Grove aces Mundelein
An Exam Jamm test yielded more positive results for Buffalo Grove's girls basketball players.
If they were failing last year, the Bison are passing with flying colors this year.
Take Tuesday night. By beating Mundelein 51-39 in Lake Zurich's Exam Jamm College Showcase, the Bison bested their win total from last year.
"We've come a long way," Buffalo Grove coach Steve Kolodziej said after his team improved to 6-3. "These kids have worked tremendously hard. They're extremely coachable."
Buffalo Grove returned 10 players from last season's 5-win squad, and all 10 are contributing this season. All 10 even scored at least 1 point against Mundelein (5-7), which was led by Kendall Klatt's game-high 24 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals. Kendra Lee led Buffalo Grove with 14 points, including three 3-pointers, and 9 rebounds.
"It feels really good to finally see our hard work paying off," said Lee, a 5-foot-11 junior. "We put in a lot of work last year, but something didn't click. This year, since we've been together so much longer, I think our chemistry is a lot better."
"It starts with leadership of the kids and the ownership," Kolodziej said. "They made a choice this summer to really commit and not allow what happened last year to happen again."
Guard Macy Floro, another returning junior for the Bison, set the tone early against Mundelein with a steal and layup, and the Bison never let up, closing the first quarter with a 9-0 run to go up 15-4. Floro was active at both ends of the floor all night, finishing with 9 points (all in the first half) and 6 steals. She also defended Mustangs leading scorer Morgan Frank, who came in averaging 15.7 points per game.
Frank finished with a season-low 3 points, all from the foul line.
"We tried to pick Morgan up in the full court to wear her out a little bit, maybe get her tired, and just constantly have Macy in her side," Kolodziej said. "She had one responsibility."
"We scouted her so I knew a little bit about her," Floro said. "I was just putting a lot of ball pressure on her and trying to make her uncomfortable."
Klatt tried to pick up the slack offensively for Mundelein. The 5-foot-7 junior forward, who recently had a 29-point effort against Resurrection, shot 9 of 13 from the floor and 6 of 8 from the line, doing all of her scoring in the paint.
"She's the one who's stepping up," Mustangs coach Greg Dorgan said of his returning starter. "She's the ones who's receiving a lot of the assists from Morgan. They've really worked well in tandem together. And as far as the 50/50s are concerned, she's going to be the first one to get her two hands on the basketball, and she's always looking to put it back up. You love her aggressiveness."
Mundelein trailed 31-13 at halftime but played a better second half, outscoring Buffalo Grove 26-20 and cutting a 21-point deficit in the third quarter to 11 midway through the fourth.
That bad half/good half has been representative of the Mustangs' season. They beat Lake Zurich and took Lake Forest to overtime, yet scored just 19 points in a loss to Warren.
"We haven't shown up as the same team each night," Dorgan said. "That's what we challenged them with tonight."
Mundelein also received 7 points and 8 rebounds from Kadra Balla.