Conway, Dougherty stand tall in Naperville Central win over Buffalo Grove
Naperville Central coach Pete Kramer had a vision of how his boys basketball team could beat Buffalo Grove on Tuesday night.
But he didn't foresee his vision being 20/20.
In a rare occurrence at the high school level, the Redhawks had two players crack the 20-point mark in a 63-55 victory over the visiting Bison in Naperville.
Senior center Chris Conway poured in a season-high 22 points to go with 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks. Senior swingman Cameron Dougherty added 20 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
"Getting prepared for this game, we knew Chris and Cam could have big nights just because of the way they matched up with us and what they were doing," Kramer said. "They really pressured on the perimeter, but inside there were gaps and opportunities and I thought Chris played great.
"He was outstanding with his catches and his quick moves to the basket and going up strong. That was huge. That was exciting."
Indeed, the Redhawks (4-1) exploited their height advantage to the fullest. The 6-foot-10 Conway and 6-6 Dougherty consistently used effective passing and spacing to create easy baskets around the rim, and the Bison (3-2) had no answer.
At one point Conway and Dougherty scored 32 straight points for the Redhawks.
"I feel like knowing we had a mismatch, me and Cam were kind of utilizing that the entire game," Conway said. "I've got to give credit to (junior guards) Aidan (Kramer) and (Kyle) Baskin for realizing that our mismatch was down low and kind of working it with me and Cam and getting the most out of that."
The majority of Dougherty's and Conway's assists came on each other's baskets, but Baskin contributed 6 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Aidan Kramer -- the coach's son -- had 3 rebounds, an assist and a block and sank 5 of 6 free-throw attempts down the stretch.
"Aidan and Baskin are juniors and they're settling in and they had a lot of pressure on them tonight," Pete Kramer said. "(The Bison) really pressured the ball. I thought they grew up big tonight, so that was good."
Conway, an Oakland signee, was particularly effective, sinking 9 of 10 shots and going 4 of 5 at the line.
"He was active and that's what we keep telling him," Pete Kramer said. "When he's active, he's so valuable and so effective."
While Dougherty, who went 7 of 12, is Naperville Central's leading scorer, Conway could be the linchpin if he continues to expand his game.
"The biggest thing is confidence and knowing that my teammates believe in me," Conway said. "I'm trying to do anything I can for the team, whether that's scoring one day, passing or rebounding another day."
He did a lot of all three against the Bison, who trailed 49-35 in the third quarter before staging a furious rally. Kamren Craft scored 7 of his 11 points during a 12-4 run that pulled the Bison within 54-51 on Tyler Kipley's 3-pointer with 2:45 remaining in the fourth quarter.
But Buffalo Grove missed its next three shots and turned it over three times down the stretch.
"We don't have the size to match up with teams so we have to push the pace, try to create turnovers and I thought we did a good job of that," Buffalo Grove coach Keith Peterson said. "I thought we had some good looks. Our guys didn't make the shots that we normally do."
Kipley had 15 points and Matt Brunelli added 12 for the Bison, which shot 33 percent in the second half.
Matt Murphy chipped in 9 points on 4-for-4 shooting for the Redhawks.