Photo by Mikayla Kim
A competitive matchup between the Bison and Grenadiers amid COVID-19 mitigations took place Friday night in the gym at Buffalo Grove High School. Players could be seen wearing masks throughout the game and sitting six feet apart in spread out chairs to adhere to the recent policies put in place by the IHSA. Although it wasn’t a normal Friday night basketball game, both teams provided the fun and entertaining game we have been longing for.
Bison coach Martha Kelly has not let the lack of senior players on the team affect their mentality. Her message for the team during this unusual time, is for her players to keep battling. Kelly has been working hard to develop her young core players, and give them many opportunities to succeed. Bison senior Kim Stuercke told us that communication was a key factor this season, both on and off the court. Her teammates have been able to create a competitive atmosphere and a strong bond through the shortened preseason.
In a pregame interview with one of Elk Grove’s returning varsity players, senior Alyssa Trausch had talked about how the frequent changes to the season changed the mentality of the team. Especially in this unusual senior season, she said that her team was playing for themselves and playing with pride. Elk Grove coach Brian Lee had also agreed that the uncertainty has both brought many unprecedented moments, but lots of positive learning opportunities. Lee has been motivating his players to give 100% effort every opportunity they get. And with the heavy restrictions in place, the on court opportunities haven’t been as available compared to a normal season.
In the first half, BG worked to set up their offense, while EG was pushing the ball down the court and leading in transitions. The Grenadiers kept their energy and competitiveness high as they fought to gain an advantage against a strong offensive Bison core. At halftime, the Bison held a slight advantage over Elk Grove, with a score of 21-17 in a very defensive game from both teams. The Grens and the Bison were willing to really put themselves out there to get loose balls and rebounds. .
Junior Leah McKenna was all over the court for the Bison, tallying 9 points and getting many aggressive looks towards the basket. McKenna and junior Cassidy Green, who also had 9 points, had a great offensive rhythm and played lockdown defense. But the Grens also had playmakers of their own. Trausch had 7 points, but she was dominating the paint, as the Bison sent her to the free throw line six times. But the biggest threat to the Bison Friday night was Lili Duckmann, who scored a total of 25 points, eight of which came from the first quarter. Duckmann was 8/11 from the free throw line, and was constantly moving the ball, keeping the defense on their toes. But the late game efforts from breakout star Kora Kipley put this game away for the Bison, as she tallied 6 of her 8 points in the fourth quarter.
The Bison escaped with a win by a score of 51-44 in what was a defensive battle that came down to being the more aggressive team. Overall, this was a game that we all could appreciate after this crazy start to the winter sports season.