Rolling Meadows tops Buffalo Grove in double-overtime classic
So what do you fancy in a conference rivalry basketball game?
A late-season battle for first place in the standings?
A rowdy standing room only crowd?
An epic duel between two of the most highly regarded superstars in the area?
A 40-point game out of each of those superstars?
Well, Friday's Mid-Suburban League showdown between East Division heavyweights Buffalo Grove and Rolling Meadows had all of that. And much, much more.
After much back-and-forth, many oohs and ahhhhs and eight extra minutes of basketball, Rolling Meadows pulled out an exhausting and exhilarating 93-83 double-overtime thriller at Buffalo Grove.
There were 88 points scored between superstars Kam Craft of Buffalo Grove (46 points) and Max Christie of Rolling Meadows (42 points).
Eight-eight points between two players.
"It was a crazy game, a double-overtime game, I just had a lot of fun," said Christie, who scored 8 of his 42 points in the second overtime, including a thunderous dunk in the final minute, to help the Mustangs pull away. "Personally, I'm not trying to outplay Kam, I'm just trying to win the game. Kam is going to do his thing, I'm going to do mine.
"But I think it was a fun game to watch. I think we gave the crowd what they wanted to see. And for us, it's a big game. They (Buffalo Grove) came to our place and beat us by 10, and now we beat them by 10 at their place and it means we're still in the race to win the MSL."
Buffalo Grove entered the game with a perfect 7-0 MSL East record, while Rolling Meadows was 6-1 after losing to Buffalo Grove earlier in the season.
Now, the Bison (20-6 overall) and the Mustangs (15-7 overall) are tied atop the MSL East standings with identical 7-1 division records with two division games remaining each.
"Obviously if we would have won that game, we would have won the East," said Craft, who scored all 7 of Buffalo Grove's points in the second overtime. "It was just a big game and everyone came out.
"The crowd was really into it and I think it helped us throughout the game but things just didn't work out in the end and that's a tough loss.
"But I think we've changed the culture here at BG. It's never been like this. Everyone is coming out to the games. It's a great environment. This is the biggest crowd I've ever played in front of. Everyone was into it. There was a lot of talent on the floor to see. It was just a crazy experience."
Craft hit a jumper with 20 seconds left in regulation to give Buffalo Grove a 69-67 lead but then Christie tied the game with 9 seconds left with 2 free throws that ultimately brought on overtime.
In the first overtime, Craft, like he did in the second overtime, also had all of Buffalo Grove's points. Off a monster offensive rebound by Tyler Fricke, he hit a clutch 3-pointer with 46.9 seconds left to give the Bison a 76-73 lead.
But then Daniel Sobkowicz kept Rolling Meadows alive with a big-time 3-pointer with 12.4 seconds left. That set the stage for the second overtime.
Soon into the second overtime, Rolling Meadows started pulling away, starting with a jumper by freshman guard Cameron Christie and then 6 straight points by his older brother Max.
"We had a lot of moments where we were just one play away from ending it," Buffalo Grove coach Keith Peterson said. "And Rolling Meadows just has so much talent and so much ability and guys kept making plays and big shots and obviously Max is unbelievable."
Cameron Christie finished with 14 points for Rolling Meadows while Jonah Ogunsanya added 15 points.
Nate Cole was Buffalo Grove's only other player in double-figures. He had 11 points, including two big 3-pointers in the second half.
"What a high school basketball game. Two really good teams, two really good players going at each other," Rolling Meadows coach Kevin Katovich said. "I have a lot of respect for Buffalo Grove and what they've done, and our guys battled too. It was quite a fun game on a Friday night.
"And that was something between Max and Kam. Just two really, really talented players obviously. That's why the gym was packed. People got their money's worth. But we have good players besides Max and they have good players besides Kam. It was a great basketball game overall in every way."