Buffalo Grove downs Rolling Meadows
The defensive game plan for Rolling Meadows on Friday night was to shut down Buffalo Grove's bigs.
So the Mustangs played a triangle-and-two, to make life tough on 6-foot-4 junior Nate Cole and 6-foot-4 freshman Kam Craft.
Buffalo Grove's guards took exception to that game plan, and played as if they were insulted that they too didn't merit such attention.
"The rest of us guys, the perimeter guys, took that personally," Buffalo Grove senior guard Mike Nowakowski said of the triangle-and-two. "We decided to go out and do our thing."
That thing was for a village of six Buffalo Grove guards to light up the scoreboard for a combined 51 points in leading the host Bison to an 84-69 Mid-Suburban League East Division boys basketball victory over Rolling Meadows.
"Usually, Kam and Cole are our biggest scorers and when teams try to take that away, you can see what our other guys are able to do," said Nowakowski, who led the guards' contingent with 17 points. "With our offense and the pace we run at, we try to get guys open shots, layups and three-pointers. It's fun when you can score like we did tonight."
Rolling Meadows did keep Craft and Cole relatively in check in the first half, holding them to a combined 9 points. And at halftime, Buffalo Grove (14-9, 6-2) was clinging to just a 4-point lead (36-32).
But Craft and the Bison had a big third quarter and extended their advantage to 20 points heading into the final period. Craft, who wound up with a team-high 25 points, had 7 points in the third.
"Rolling Meadows did a great job of coming out with energy and it took us awhile to get going," Buffalo Grove coach Keith Peterson said. "But we talked at halftime about how we wanted to attack the triangle-and-two, we got more confidence in the third quarter and our weapons stepped up and made the plays. The third quarter we started to play more of our pace."
The other guards to come up with big plays for Buffalo Grove were Ethan Soifer (15 points), Matthew Brunelli (9 points on three 3-pointers), Connor Adams (5 points), Tyler Kipley (3 points) and Sloan Kipley (2 points).
Guard-heavy Buffalo Grove, playing without starting senior forward Tom Trieb, who is dealing with a flare-up of a hip injury from football and has been out for a week, finished with 12 3-pointers.
Meanwhile, Rolling Meadows sophomore guard Daniel Sobkowicz hit some big 3-pointers of his own. He had four on the game, including two 3-pointers in a first quarter in which Rolling Meadows finished the period with a 14-13 lead.
Sobkowicz, typically known for his defense, has made a point of being more offensive-minded lately to help the Mustangs deal better with the void left by sophomore star Max Christie, who has missed a few weeks with a deep thigh bruise.
Sobkowicz finished with a team-high 25 points.
"We're still trying to work on (playing without Christie, who could be back by the end of next week)," Sobkowicz said. "I've gotten more confident in myself. I wasn't looking to shoot much (before Christie got hurt). I was looking to play defense more. But now I'm trying to play both sides of the ball."
Rolling Meadows, which drops to 11-8 and 3-4 in the MSL East, also got double-figures from Javonte Warrener (14 points) and Sean Nolan (13 points).
"We just didn't have a good third quarter. We did what we wanted to do in the first quarter, but kind of ran out of gas a little by the third quarter," Rolling Meadows coach Kevin Katovich said. "And we kind of got out of what we were trying to do. Plus, they have a lot of weapons and you kind of have to pick your poison with them."