Buffalo Grove proves there's more to life than basketball

  • Buffalo Grove boys basketball players volunteer at a Feed My Starving Children food packing event.

    Buffalo Grove boys basketball players volunteer at a Feed My Starving Children food packing event. Courtesy of Keith Peterson

  • Buffalo Grove boys basketball players volunteer at a Feed My Starving Children food packing event.

    Buffalo Grove boys basketball players volunteer at a Feed My Starving Children food packing event. Courtesy of Keith Peterson

 
By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 12/16/2021 8:12 PM

Imagine being able to feed a child for an entire year.

Buffalo Grove's boys basketball team did just that.

 

The Bison's entire program took a day off practice and went to Feed My Starving Children in Schaumburg in early December. Bison head coach Keith Peterson has been taking his players to Feed My Starving Children for several years to volunteer to pack meals.

"It is something we have done the last nine years I have been head coach," Peterson said. "We run a whole program and this is one of the few times where we can all gather not in a gym. It is a little different environment where they can just hang out and talk to each other. It is interesting to see how the freshmen will talk to the varsity players."

There the 56 Bison players in the program. They packed 95 boxes with 20,520 meals. That would be able to feed 56 children for one year, according to FMSC assistant site manager Beth McRill-Gittleson.

"It is one of the things we love about our organization," McRill-Gittleson said. "We can have so many kids and so many students come in. One of the big things we like to brag about is that we have kids helping to feed other kids. There are very few opportunities for kids to brag about that."

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Peterson, who teaches Human Geography at Buffalo Grove, said he wanted his players to get an understanding of world issues.

"The course talks about other places in the world," Peterson explained. "There are obviously a lot of problems here in the United States. Look at how fortunate we are. This is just high school basketball. We have an opportunity to go play on Friday night before a large crowd and at the same time there are so many people not as fortunate we are."

Peterson said he wanted to organize something that his players would have a hands-on experience with.

"I know a lot of teams do things for charities and give back," Peterson said. "But I think it is kind of important that they actually physically do something instead of going home and ask mom and dad for a check."

Buffalo Grove senior co-captain Adidas Davis said he can't believe how much of an impact the two hours his team spent could make.

"I think it is amazing," Davis said. "I didn't realize that we packed that much food. That is a huge number. The fact that we can help somebody else who needs the food is a blessing. It kind of makes me and the team feel happy about what we did. "

McRill-Gittleson said the food that Buffalo Grove packed up was shipped this past week. It is going to the South Sudan through Reach Now International, a partner organization of Feed My Hungry Children.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It is really, really common for different teams to come in," McRill-Gittleson said. "It is really kind of a crazy thing where we kind of rely on word-of-mouth advertising to get people to come in and fill up our packing room."

Feed My Starving Children has eight sites nationwide, including Schaumburg, Libertyville and Aurora. It has five packing sessions per day and is open six days per week. Groups can access the organization's website at FMSC.org to register and sign up.

Palatine's gym rats:

Palatine meets Fremd Friday night in a renewal of their crosstown rivalry. Palatine at times will feature its "gym rats" lineup.

The Pirates have Sam Millstone, son of Pirates' head coach Eric Millstone, and Connor May, whose dad Matt was an under level coach at Palatine and runs the Mid-Suburban youth league. Connor May is also the nephew of former Wheeling athletic director Dr. Steve May.

But it doesn't stop there.

Bobby Widlowski is the son of Fremd head coach Bob Widlowski and DJ Dick is the son of Fremd athletic director David Dick.

"It is kind of a unique situation," Eric Millstone said. "All four of them were probably raised in the gym to some capacity. They have been kind of looking forward to this moment since they were in grade school."

Eric Millstone said it's just not their play on the court that has aided in each of their successes.

"All four are really coachable," Millstone said. "All four bring a different skill set to the table. And all four have different personalities, but all seem to mesh in a good way in all those capacities."

Palatine (6-2, 2-0) if off to a great start and is tied with Fremd (7-1, 2-0) for the lead in the MSL West.

"When you are raised in a gym, things just come a little more natural in terms of basketball IQ than some other kids," Eric Millstone said. "I think, for lack of a better phrase, they get it. There is a confidence in what they are doing and probably more importantly, there is a confidence in each other."

Bob Widlowski said that he is very proud of how his son has handled playing high school sports.

"I think Bobby has handled the whole thing very well," the Fremd coach said. "We are proud of him before he steps on the court. We are proud of him for what he has done in the classroom and as a kid. He has set his own path athletically at Palatine."

But coach Widlowski still would love to have bragging rights at the kitchen table Saturday morning.

"We compete in everything," he said. "We compete in golf. It has become a theme for us. We play in the driveway. I want to win, he wants to win. We play golf, he wants to win, I want to win. This is just one more opportunity for us to compete."

No lead is safe:

High school basketball has typically not been the NBA when it comes to huge deficits. There just rarely are huge comebacks.

But early into the 2021-2022 season, there have already been two in the MSL.

Two weeks ago, Fremd rallied from 17 points down to win 56-55 against Barrington on Eli Schoffstall's last second 3-pointer.

That type of comeback happened again last Friday.

Prospect trailed Elk Grove by 16 at the half, 41-25. Prospect (5-3, 2-0) then turned up the defensive pressure in the second half, limiting the Grenadiers (2-7, 0-2) to just 7 second-half points to rally for a 58-48 victory.

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