Schaumburg holds off Buffalo Grove for MSL championship
Buffalo Grove and Schaumburg went in search of the summit of Mid-Suburban League boys basketball on the Saxons' home court Wednesday night.
Thanks in large part to its ability to withstand blow after blow the visitors threw at them, the Saxons came out of the battle with MSL championship gold in a 49-43 win that gave them their eighth MSL title in the program's 49 year history.
"That's a phenomenal team over there," Schaumburg head coach Wade Heisler said of Buffalo Grove. "Our guys showed toughness. We talk to them all the time about running our (offensive) sets, boxing out, setting screens, take charges, taking care of the ball, making the extra pass. That's what makes us good."
After the Bison had earned a 5-point lead at the midway point of the second quarter, Schaumburg (24-6) proceeded to go on 10-3 binge over the final 4:05 of the first half to take a 24-22 lead into halftime. Key to the run were back to back 3-pointers by senior Jared Schoo and junior guard Armen Torosian that finished off the run.
That set the stage for a titanic second half that saw six lead changes with the Bison (23-7) taking their last lead of the night on consecutive buckets from the game's leading scorer, sophomore Kam Craft, leaving them up 43-42 with 2:31 left.
MSL West Player of the Year Chris Hodges' rebound putback 62 seconds later gave the Saxons the lead for good (44-43). Then off a BG miss, a Schoo rebound found its way to sophomore guard Vaurice Patterson for a layup and a 46-43 advantage 17 ticks later. The MSL all-conference duo combined for a trio of free throws over the final 20 seconds to preserve the win.
The 6-foot-8 Hodges, who faced numerous double and triple teams throughout the game, paced Schaumburg with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Schoo, a 6-3 senior and four-year varsity letterman, followed with 13 points and 8 boards.
He spoke of his teammates' ability to take advantage of what Buffalo Grove's defense gave them.
"When you have a great player like Chris it opens up opportunities for others and we just do whatever the team needs. We rebound. We get the open shot. We really work all around," Schoo said.
MSL East Co-Player of the Year Craft added a team-high 17 points and 8 rebounds for the Bison while senior guard Tyler Kipley added 9 points to the BG cause.
Kipley, along with fellow seniors Nate Cole and Matt Brunelli joined Craft on the league's all-conference squad, which was announced at the half.
"I told our guys I was extremely proud of them," Buffalo Grove coach Keith Peterson said. "The effort was unbelievable. The way that we battled inside and we're giving up a lot of size there and the fact we executed our game plan defensively. The guys listened. They were active. They were talking to each other and just to be in that type of environment. It's a playoff environment you can't simulate at practice. There's nothing like these type of games. It's a learning experience for us."