Cole steps up as Buffalo Grove downs Prospect
After Buffalo Grove had defeated visiting Prospect 72-59 in a Mid-Suburban East boys basketball game Friday night, Knights coach John Camardella stopped to talk to Bison senior Nate Cole in the handshake line.
"He said he was proud of the way I stepped up and rebounded tonight," said Cole. "He was happy to see the way I have developed as a player since I was a sophomore. I respect coach Camardella a lot. It was Senior Night and I wanted to go out with a bang. They gave us a good fight."
Cole led the Bison to the win with 18 points, 12 rebounds and 3 assists.
"I told Cole how impressed I was with his effort," said Camardella. "I told him how much of a game-changer he had become for this team this whole year."
"Nate is an unbelievable person," said Buffalo Grove coach Keith Peterson. "Such a good teammate and leader. He responds to what we coach and tonight he really responded when we needed him."
Cole had plenty of help on Senior Night.
Matt Brunelli, who played a key third quarter, finished with 16 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Tyler Fricke added 8 points. Sophomore Kam Craft scored 12 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and finished with 4 assists.
Over the past several years, the Mid-Suburban East goes through the Knights and Friday night was no different.
"We told the kids before the game that you have to go through the champs to get where you want to be," said Peterson.
Matt Woloch scored all 7 of his points in the first quarter as Prospect (12-12, 5-4) led 16-11 after the first 8 minutes.
Things began to change in the second quarter when Fricke connected on a 3-pointer, which started a 9-0 run for the Bison.
That gave Buffalo Grove a 20-16 lead but Prospect fought back to take a 28-27 lead on Matt McAleer's basket on an assist from Marco Shaw (8 points) with 36 seconds left in the first half.
Cole's 2 free throws early in the third quarter closed the Knights' lead to 30-29 with 6:42 left.
Two steals and baskets by Brunelli and a third by Brunelli on an assist from Cole saw the Bison take the lead 35-30.
"That was a bad stretch for us," said Camardella.
Prospect came back to tie the game at 35 with 4:47 left. A Cole basket gave the Bison back the lead at 37-35, which was followed by Tyler Kipley's 3-point play and a 40-35 lead.
Prospect's Brian Dini (10 points, 7 rebounds hit 2 free throws and then scored a basket off a turnover to make the score 54-50 with 4:09 left in the game.
Cole scored and Craft hit 4 free throws that started a 12-3 run, giving the Bison a 66-53 lead with 1:21 left in the game.
"We like to shoot the 3s," said Brunelli. "But, when Kam gets double-teamed there always is someone open under the basket and we can get layups. Kam's a really good passer. He's great at finding guys open."
The Bison, now 22-6 and 8-1 in the MSL East, would get the nod for the championship game if they and Rolling Meadows finish in a tie based on which team has not been the division winner in a time period. The Bison finish with Elk Grove next Friday.