Bonding as a team helped Buffalo Grove in 2000 state title quest
Editor's note: Below is an edited version of the 2000 Daily Herald game story from the Class AA state championship girls basketball game between Buffalo Grove and Chicago Washington.
NORMAL -- We are family.
A Class AA state championship family, that is.
Before the season started, Buffalo Grove girls basketball coach Tom Dineen said this was a special team, like coaching an entire group of his own daughters.
Well, they made their basketball father proud on a Saturday in 2000 on the floor at Redbird Arena.
Despite dropping a 33-point decision to Washington six weeks ago on their home floor, the Bison defeated that same team 60-51 in overtime of the Class AA state title game on the campus of Illinois State University.
In what proved to be one of the most dramatic state championships ever, the game ended with Washington scoring 15 points in a row -- followed by BG scoring the final 12, including a 9-0 shutout in OT.
Lindsey Hamma's 3-pointer gave BG (34-3) a 48-36 lead with 1:10 left in the third quarter. Washington went ahead 51-48 before Hamma struck again for a 3- pointer to tie the game at 51-51 with 2:33 left in regulation. Allison Guth barely missed a game-winning 15-footer at the buzzer in regulation, but she scored BG's first 7 points of the extra session.
With 13 seconds left, Piper Mead finished the 9-0 blitz with 2 free throws and BG was celebrating its first girls state championship in any sport.
"I don't ever want to wake up from this," said Mead, who finished her four-year varsity career with 14 points, 4 assists and 4 rebounds in the title matchup. ''I've never been so happy in my life. This is the best group of people I've ever met in my life. I'm so lucky to be a part of all this."
Typical of the entire season, the Bison received balanced scoring from Hamma (15 points), Mead (14), Guth (11), Patty Vermiglio (9) and Kendra Ryl (8).
"I'm so happy to be a part of all this," Ryl said. ''I love these girls so much. They're wonderful."
"Give Buffalo Grove all the credit," said Washington coach Willie Byrd. "They did what they had to do to beat us. We played hard and they beat us. I couldn't be happier for my team. It went farther than any in school history."
"These kids worked awfully hard to get there, then they worked awfully hard for two days down here," Dineen said. "It was a heck of a state championship game."
"I can't say anything more," Hamma said. ''What a way to end my -- our -- senior basketball season."
As part of one big family.
"These kids and parents have been fantastic all season," Dineen said. "I was so glad Kim Bretz (a former all-area BG player who transferred as a sophomore) could be here to see my state championship after I saw hers when she played in Maryland. And my daughter Jaime (who played on BG's 1997 Elite Eight qualifier), my son (Sean, a longtime fan of his father's team) and wife Chris and all 11 of my other daughters.
"I've been preaching all season to these girls that we wanted to be in the state finals. It hasn't hit me yet."