Third-quarter rally lifts Buffalo Grove over Maine East
PARK RIDGE — In a game that pitted youth against seasoned veterans, the Buffalo Grove boys basketball team beat Maine East 64-56 on Wednesday night.
On paper, the Demons appeared overmatched by the bigger, more experienced Bison. Still, the duo of wispy sophomore guard Abby George and freshman forward Ezeke Omeke was able to keep Maine East ahead until the fourth quarter.
“Maine East did a nice job of hanging in there,” Buffalo Grove coach Ryan O’Connor said. “We were down at halftime and were able to come out and gain a little bit of momentum in the third quarter and then gain a lead in the fourth. But they never went away.”
Omeke lead the Demons with 13 points, but when the legion of Buffalo Grove upperclassmen got it going at the end of the third quarter, there was nothing he could do but watch.
On perhaps the game’s most pivotal — and most aesthetically pleasing — play, Buffalo Grove junior guard Andrew Apel caught a half-court pass in midair and laid it in to cut the Maine East lead to 40-39 as the buzzer sounded to end the third. After senior guard Steve Soifer hit a jumper in the lane on Buffalo Grove’s first possession of the fourth quarter, the Bison never trailed again.
For almost three quarters, Buffalo Grove — especially senior guard and leading scorer Luke Potnick — seemed out of sorts and frustrated. But the one dominant stretch the Bison managed early in the third was enough to secure the victory.
Apel had a game-high 17 points while Potnick, who averages nearly 23 points per game, finished with a hard-earned 14.
“It definitely wasn’t one of our better games all season, but we kept grinding,” Apel said. “Luckily we were able to go on a run for a three- or four-minute span and pull it out.”
Pick up your local Pioneer Press newspaper on Jan. 31 to read more about the Buffalo Grove boys basketball team.