Buffalo Grove's 4th quarter blitz does in Grayslake North
A mid-afternoon tip-off on a Saturday in January might lend itself to a slow start for some teams.
Not Buffalo Grove.
The Bison returned from the holiday break to put up 93 points on visiting Grayslake North in a 93-71 victory but BG had to rally in the fourth quarter to win.
Buffalo Grove outscored the Knights 36-13 in the final stanza to score the nonconference boys basketball triumph at BG.
"It was awesome," said BG senior Michael Mandell, one of the Bison starting five, of the 4:30 p.m. start. "You've just got to take it in and play your heart out, because you never know what this could lead to."
Kam Craft scored 28 points for BG, while Ryan Connolly had a game-high 30 for Grayslake North.
"In the third quarter I thought we played really well," said Knights coach Todd Grunloh." In the fourth quarter, wow, (BG) just made everything.
"I'm not saying we played perfect by any means but they hit some deep threes. They've got a team full of shooters and you've got to give them credit, they made some tough shots."
Buffalo Grove started fast, sprinting to an 11-0 advantage early on and a 10-point lead after one quarter.
Grayslake North fought back, and when junior guard Jason Donohue banked in a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer from way beyond half-court, the Knights trailed only 38-34.
"We had to keep our pace," said BG senior Michael Mandell. "We knew if we kept our pace, we'd get our shots and then we could really focus on the 'D'. We worked together to know where their shooters were."
Matt Rennolds hit 3 consecutive 3-pointers in the third quarter for Grayslake North to pace a Knights charge, and when teammate Connolly swished in another 3 late, North held a 58-57 lead heading into the final quarter.
Then BG's Matt Brunelli gave the momentum back to the Bison in the fourth period. Brunelli opened the stanza with a long 3-pointer, had a steal and a layup moments later, then his rebound on the defensive end led to a Kraft 3-pointer.
Just like that, the Bison had a 66-58 lead.
"We had to stay within ourselves," said Brunelli. "Stay together like we always do and compete as a team. When we compete as a team we play our best basketball."
BG (10-6) kept the pressure on in the fourth and when Michael Nowakowski sank a driving layup, the Bison led 75-63.
A 3-point play from Bison senior Tom Trieb extended the advantage to 81-65 with minutes remaining in the game, and Grayslake North couldn't get any closer.
"We had the lead, we just had to play good defense," said Nowakowski, who scored 9 points and had a game-high 12 rebounds, of the Bison fourth-quarter effort. "The biggest thing for us was communication on 'D'. Just slow down on their shooters because they had a lot of threes in the first half. We just played our game on defense and played fast-paced, fast-break offense."
Nate Cole scored 23 points for BG while Trieb added 16.
Tony Hines added 19 for the Knights (8-5).
"We got off to a really slow start," said Grunloh. "Their zone kind of caught us off guard and put us on our heels a bit where we weren't quite as aggressive as we normally are. They got up by ten or twelve and we spent a lot of energy trying to get back into the game."