Buffalo Grove gets past Prospect
Even though Buffalo Grove was making it look easy when it opened up a 15-6 lead at Prospect on Friday night, Bison coach Steve Kolodziej was hardly fooled.
"We knew it wouldn't be easy coming in here," he said.
Sure enough, despite leading by 12 points early in the fourth quarter, it wasn't all that easy at the end.
Prospect got to within 40-36 on 2 free throws by sophomore Andie Will with 49 seconds left but the Bison held on for 41-36 win at the Jean Walker Field House in Mount Prospect.
"It's been a challenge all season," Kolodziej said after his team improved to 6-4 and 2-0 in the Mid-Suburban East girls basketball standings. "I couldn't be more proud of our kids in regards to playing Prospect. All our kids prepared really well all week and I was really happy with our defensive execution, especially in the first half."
BG limited Prospect (5-3, 0-2) to 12 points in the first 16 minutes and took advantage of a pair of 3-pointers by senior Macy Floro and one by classmate Kendra Lee for a 22-12 lead.
Lee's big drive to the basket with 4:43 left in the fourth quarter resulted in a lay in and 40-31 lead for the visitors.
"We knew exactly what we needed to do then," said Kolodziej, whose team went into a four-corner offense in the final minutes. "We haven't been in that situation for a long time where we needed to close a game like that.
"We missed some free throws down the stretch and sometimes that can be the difference but we were able to hold them off."
Junior Eliot Dojutrek's driving left-handed scoop shot got Prospect to within 40-33 and 3 free throws in the final minutes by Will cut the deficit to 40-36.
But Lee hit a free throw with less than 30 seconds that made it 41-36 and she also blocked Prospect's last shot attempt after Sarah Skaggs grabbed 2 offensive rebounds to keep the ball in the Knights' possession.
Floro (five 3-pointers) and Lee each netted 15 points.
"Macy was huge offensively and defensively," Kolodziej said. "And Kendra has come such a long way just in regard to her leadership on and off the court. I couldn't be more proud of her. Coach (Brian) Linart and I are her toughest critics. The two of us expect a lot out of her, and you could see tonight how far she has come from last season. She is just taking ownership of the team, communicating, talking and encouraging the other kids when they aren't going well.
"We had some freshmen and sophomores in there at the end. They've never been in a situation like this so they handled themselves well enough for us to come out with the win."
Megan Fontanetta handled the offense well as usual, getting the ball to the Bison scorers who included freshman Kora Kipley (5 points), sophomore Leah McKenna (4) and sophomore Kim Stuercke (2).
"I think we definitely were a little too timid at the end," said Lee, who will play at Lindenwood University in Missouri. "We should have fought pressure with pressure but we were able to pull it out in a tough atmosphere at Prospect. It was really good to get the win."
Will did all she could to help the Knights get the win as she scored 19 points with three 3-pointers.
"Only a sophomore, Andie tried to put the team on her back and really went after it," said Prospect coach Marie Miller. "I would say she played a complete game. I'm happy with how she is playing and continues to become a leader on the floor."
Dojutrek finished with 6 points and Mia Gusloff added 5.
"A couple of times we were down and got back close, so that's what we have to hang our hats on," Miller said. "That should make us a little more angry about this loss because we were right there and then didn't finish."