Craft on fire again as Buffalo Grove bounces Hersey

Updated 3/3/2020 10:51 PM

It's almost track season.

Not that the players on the Buffalo Grove boys basketball team would notice a difference from basketball season.


For the Bison, it's run, run, run whenever they can.

Basketball shoes could easily be substituted for track shoes.

"We are better at playing fast than slow," Buffalo Grove sophomore guard Kam Craft said.

Buffalo Grove likes a fast pace. The Bison like to push tempo, to get up and down the floor and to score points in a hurry.

And that's what they did with apparent ease on Tuesday in their 83-69 victory in a Class 4A regional semifinal at Grant.

There were still 4 minutes left in the game when Buffalo Grove hit 70 points, a mark that some high school teams don't hit the entire season.

The No. 3 Bison (24/7) will face the winner of Wednesday's semifinal between No. 6 Barrington and No. 14 Prospect in Friday's regional championship at 7 p.m. The No. 14 Huskies end their season with a 13-19 record having won four of their last five games.

"We just really focus on playing with pace," said Craft, who paced himself all the way to a game-high 34 points. "It's super fun. We shoot the open shot all the time. We play together and we just shoot whenever we're open. It's just the way we play. It's a ton of fun."

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Buffalo Grove had just a 2-point lead at halftime (34-32), and was tied with Hersey at 42 with about five minutes to play in the third quarter.

But then the Bison flipped a switch, and the points came in a hurry as they outscored Hersey 15-6 at the end of the third quarter and 10-2 to start the fourth.

"They were unbelievable and they've made a lot of coaches scratch their heads about how to defend them," Hersey coach Austin Scott said. "They just have so many guys who can score. Kam obviously makes a ton of huge plays. But if you think about down the stretch and key moments, Tyler Fricke made one, Matt Brunelli made one, Nate Cole made one, Steph Harris made one. So that's five guys who are making plays. It's hard to decide who to key on. And then when you give the other guys respect on defense, Kam (darn) near kills you for 40."

Buffalo Grove got double-figures from three other players besides Craft. Brunelli had 14, Cole had 12 points and Harris had 10 points. "When we get rolling, we're pretty fun," Buffalo Grove coach Keith Peterson said. "And Kam was just unbelievable again today.

"We just talk about being shot-ready and we need everyone to be a part of that. If one guy isn't confident, it brings us all down. We try to practice fast continuously and that kind of builds on itself."


Hersey also upped its tempo to keep pace and that put four Huskies in double-figures as well. Ethan Roberts and Ben Randall each had 13 points for Hersey, Andrew Wagner chipped in with 12 points and Brent Wolff finished with 11 points.

"We tried slowing them down but Buffalo Grove is so fast-paced," Randall said. "It does get tiresome running up and down that fast. It's hard to keep up with. But we tried.

"We aren't a team that gets down on ourselves. We worked hard all season, and I love these guys. It's going to be hard to say goodbye, especially to our seniors. We looked up to them every day, in every practice and every game."

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