As Evergreen Park’s inside presence, Billy Buchanan believes in bringing it on the boards. ‘I can set an example.’

On a team full of star guards, Billy Buchanan wants to be the big man who brings it all together for Evergreen Park.

When it comes to doing the dirty work, the senior forward sets the tone for the Mustangs.

“I think I’m more important with helping tie things together rather than just my size,” Buchanan said. “I rebound, and when people see me rebound, they go rebound. Everything kind of falls together when you have someone inside.

“When I’m just present down low, I can set an example for everyone to follow.”

Buchanan set a fine one Tuesday night, scoring 14 points and pulling down nine rebounds as Evergreen Park rolled to a 64-49 win over host Lemont in a South Suburban Conference crossover.

Tre Dowdell led the Mustangs (19-9, 9-3 SSC Red) with 24 points and seven rebounds. Ulises Cardenas and Nolan Sexton added 11 points apiece.

Shea Glotzbach finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds for Lemont (16-11, 9-3 SSC Blue). Ryan Runaas scored nine points and Klaidas Paskauskas chipped in with seven.

Evergreen Park spoiled Lemont’s chance to clinch at least a share of the SSC Blue title. Lemont can still earn a piece of that pie with a win Friday over Bremen.

Buchanan, meanwhile, does not consider scoring to be one of his top priorities. But he converted three inside baskets in the first quarter to help get the Mustangs going.

Evergreen Park led 18-13 after one quarter, extended the edge to 38-28 at halftime and led by at least nine points the entire second half.

“I know I don’t have to worry about scoring,” Buchanan said. “We have a team full of scorers. But we had a matchup advantage, and when we have that, we can be dangerous.”

Evergreen Park coach Jim Sexton said the Mustangs are looking to Buchanan more frequently.

“A lot of our sets are designed for guards, but we’ve added more and more for Billy as we’ve gone,” he said. “We usually go in to Billy early just to get him going. That gets him more aggressive on the offensive boards. He runs the floor well. He’s guarding well.”

Nolan Sexton has been blown away by how much Buchanan has improved to become a major factor for the Mustangs.

“I tell him all the time that he’s made such a huge leap,” Nolan said. “He’s been great all season for us. He still has his Billy moments, but he’s given us a lot more than I expected.”

Nolan and Jim Sexton have talked a wavering Buchanan into playing AAU this summer with the Chicago LockDown. Buchanan said that’s where it all started.

“I was planning on taking the summer off except for high school ball, but coach convinced me,” Buchanan said. “I played on a good team, and Nolan was on the team with me.

“I made a great growth over the summer and it carried over.”

Buchanan also golfs for Evergreen Park.

“I golf just to have fun,” Buchanan said. “A lot of kids on the golf team also play basketball, so it’s good bonding to get ready for the season.

“I’ve been a lot more frustrated golfing than playing basketball, so that helps on the court and helps me stay calm.”

Of course, there has not been much reason for Buchanan or his coaches to be upset by his play on the court this season.

“He’s put the work in,” Jim Sexton said. “Sometimes in the past, when we went through all those breakdowns and drills in practice, he’d go through the motions. Now he’s really concentrating on being physical and finishing around the basket.

“I think he got some good confidence in the summer and carried it over. He’s playing great for us.”