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In a battle that pitted uninhibited youth against seasoned veterans, Buffalo Grove proved the old guys still have it as they topped Maine East 64-56 on Wednesday night.
The Demons, on paper, were woefully outmatched by the much bigger, much more experienced Bison squad. Still, the duo of sophomore guard Abby George and freshman forward Ezeke Omeke was able to keep Main 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 towards the end of the third quarter, there was nothing he could do but watch.
In perhaps the game’s most pivotal, as well as most aesthetically pleasing play, junior guard Andrew Apel caught a half court pass in midair and laid it as the buzzer sounded to end the third to cut the lead to 40-39. After senior guard Steve Soifer hit a jumper in the lane on Buffalo Grove’s first possession of the fourth quarter the Bison would never relinquish the lead.
Four nearly three quarters Buffalo Grove, especially senior guard and leading scorer Luke Potnick, seemed out of sorts and frustrated, but the one dominant stretch they managed early in the third was enough to secure the victory.
Apel had a game-high 17 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.”