Buffalo Grove squeaks past Grayslake Central

 
 
Updated 11/25/2019 10:59 PM

Shooters shoot.

That's what they do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Even when they're 4-for-14. That was the line for Buffalo Grove sophomore guard Kam Craft through three quarters in the Bison's season opener against Grayslake Central on Monday.

"I shot terrible today," said the 6-foot-5 Craft, who averaged more than 20 points per game last year as a freshman. "I've always been a shooter. I don't care how many I miss. I'm going to shoot the next one that's open. That's my mentality."

Craft found his shooting touch just in time to lead Buffalo Grove to a 50-47 victory over Grayslake Central in first round action of the Buffalo Grove Thanksgiving tournament.

About midway through the fourth quarter, with the score tied at 42, Craft came up with huge back-to-back baskets that shifted the momentum toward the Bison for good. He drained a 3-pointer at the top of the key, and muscled in a putback basket with authority.

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"I think that 3-pointer was a big momentum swing for us," Craft said. "And then I got that putback. That got the crowd going and that helped us pull it out."

Craft shot 6-for-18 on the day, but finished with a game-high 17 points and scored when it counted.

"I think there were some nervous legs out there," said Buffalo Grove coach Keith Peterson, alluding to the first-game jitters that seemed to cause plenty of missed shots on both teams. "We were pretty pleased with the shots we had but the ball kind of sat on the rim a little bit and wouldn't drop down. But the fact we survived tonight is a good sign for us.

"Kam made that big 3. He had been fighting (missed shots) all night and it's going to be hard with all the (defenses and big defenders) that will be thrown at him this year. He just kept grinding and grinding and he made enough plays and shot with confidence to give us the lead. That's why we run plays for him because he's a big-time scorer."

Grayslake Central had a 26-23 lead at halftime in what was a nip-and-tuck game throughout.

The Rams survived early foul trouble by 6-foot-7 Grant Hardy. He left midway through the first quarter with two fouls but returned in the second quarter to score 6 points and help Grayslake Central take the lead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I just tried to stay locked in and cheer on my teammates," Hardy said of his time on the bench. "I was just ready for when I could go in. And the guys did great (while Hardy was on the bench). We've got a really good group this year."

Hardy finished with a team-high 16 points. Meanwhile, teammates Dillan Dumanlang and Daniel Rogers each added 8 points.

For Buffalo Grove, Nate Cole and Kyle Brosnahan were also in double-figures with 13 and 10 points respectively.

"Buffalo Grove did a great job in the fourth quarter," Grayslake Central coach Brian Centrella said. "I thought for three quarters, we did as good of a job as you can do on Kam Craft. He's such a great player. And then like great players do, he hit some huge shots down the stretch. Hats off to Buffalo Grove. But I was happy with our effort and how we played."

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