Randall's all-around game lifts Hersey over Buffalo Grove
Hersey's Ben Randall made sure that Buffalo Grove was one-and-done.
The 6-foot-7 senior had 16 rebounds and 3 blocked shots to go along with his 11 points as Hersey outlasted Buffalo Grove 63-53 Friday in a Mid-Suburban East boys basketball game in Arlington Heights.
"The guys did a great job of stopping them and making them take tough shots," Randall said. "I was just there to clean up the boards. Clean it up and give them just one shot every possession."
That was especially important for Hersey, which knew it could not give Buffalo Grove's Kam Craft any second opportunities at the baskets.
"You can't give up any defensive rebounds and them take a second opportunity and let Kam Craft make tough shots," Randall said.
Craft, who scored 27 points, still made plenty of shots for the Bison (7-5, 4-4). His play kept his team in the game, giving the Bison its final lead at 42-40 with 3:02 left in the third quarter.
Hersey (12-2, 8-1), which had four different players in double figures, then went on an 8-0 to lead 48-42 on a layup by Brent Wolff at the end of the third quarter.
Craft got the Bison back to within 2 at 50-48 with 6:10 left. But that is as close as it would get.
Led by Ethan Roberts, the Huskies went on a 6-0 run to make it 56-48. After a 3-pointer by Craft, Hersey rattled off 7 consecutive points to put the game away.
"I know I am going to be targeted offensively," said Roberts, who led the Huskies with 19 points. "We have all the tools. Everybody is going to step us as needed. Ben stepped up with huge defensive rebounds. They were huge boards. I am proud of him.
Griffin Ginder had 13 points for Hersey, 10 of which came in the first half, while Andrew Wagner had 12 points.
"I thought our kids came in focused tonight," Hersey coach Austin Scott said. "Sometimes it takes longer than coaches would like, but they picked it up. I thought we did a good job on them and mixed things up. We got key rebounds at key times."
Hersey's win enabled tie Huskies to stay one game behind Rolling Meadows for the MSL East lead. The two teams meet on Tuesday with the division title at stake.
Buffalo Grove coach Keith Peterson said Randall's play inside hurt his team.
"I thought we came out with good energy," Paterson said. "Their zone bothered us a little bit. I thought we had great shots, but Randall had a lot of big blocks. When you get the ball to the middle and then all of a sudden he takes it off the rim it is a momentum swing."