Craft hits for 33, eclipses 1,000 in Buffalo Grove's win over Wheeling
Thursday night belonged to Kam Craft and the Buffalo Grove Bison.
Craft, a sophomore, scored 33 points to eclipse the 1,000 point mark for his career as Buffalo Grove beat host Wheeling 68-40 in a Mid-Suburban East boys basketball game. He now has 1,014 career points.
Craft's 1,000th point came with 48 seconds left in the first half. His shot came from the right corner. He was fouled on the play and made the free throw which gave the Bison a 38-19 halftime lead. Craft scored 18 of his 21 first-half points in the quarter.
"The 1,000th point is a cool milestone but it really doesn't mean that much to me," said Craft. "I'm more focused on winning."
"Craft is a heckuva player, "said Wheeling coach Michael O'Keefe. "He's really good and tough to guard. The biggest improvement he's made was that last year he would shoot 3s or try to finish at the rim. This year he has developed the midrange pullup jumper with a fade."
"Yes, I'm a gym rat," said Craft. "In the summer I took 200 shots a day. Today Nate Cole got us going and then I got hot."
Cole scored 13 points, 11 of which came in the first half. Cole started and finished an 8-0 run that gave the 18-4, 6-0 East leaders a 10-5 lead. The Bison finished with a13-7 lead to end the quarter.
Wheeling (7-13, 1-5) pulled to within 15-13 on Joe Jordan's 3-pointer with 6:58 left before halftime.
Buffalo Grove used a 16-2 run to build a 31-15 lead with 2:57 left in the quarter.
Cole scored the first two baskets of the run and Craft scored the next 10 points including two NBA 3-pointers.
"We were able to stay with them for about 10 minutes then they made that run," said O'Keefe. "That was tough to come back from."
Matthew Brunelli and Steph Harris each scored 7 points for the Bison. Craft also added 6 rebounds.
Christian McLaughlin tied Jordan, who also had 9 rebounds, with 8 points for Wheeling.
"Kam is a very humble and nice kid," said Cole. "He's all about the team. He does what it takes to win. This season he has worked to involve the other players. We all owe him a lot of credit. He draws attention from other team's defenses. Teams are so focused on him that the other players get open looks."
Craft's interest in basketball started early in life.
"I'm going to say about five years old," said Craft. "My parents, Mark and Kama, played college ball and my father also played baseball for the Oakland Athletics. My father played at Virginia Military and my mother at West Virginia-Concord.
"We're playing well together. Our chemistry is good and we're focused on winning."
Buffalo Grove coach Keith Peterson liked what he saw in Craft's grade school games.
"He showed that he was a real hard worker, " said Peterson. "With us he has worked to make the others better players. He is a skilled and gifted player. He bought into our system right away. Scoring the 1,000 points is a great individual accomplishment."