Palatine came skidding into a rough road week with five consecutive losses.
But the Pirates made sure their boys basketball season didn't spin out of control. They followed up a Tuesday night win at Mid-Suburban East leading Prospect by pulling out a 46-41 victory on Friday that sent Barrington to its first MSL West defeat.
"We didn't start the season the way we wanted to," said 5-foot-7 senior sparkplug guard Kyle Leber. "We were straight-up awful at Schaumburg (47-30 loss last week) so we wanted to come back and gain our confidence back."
Senior Nolan Gavin helped lead the way for the Pirates (4-5, 1-2) as it didn't take him long to surpass the career-high 13 points he scored in a 53-41 win at Prospect. Gavin was 5-for-7 from 3-point range en route to 17 points and he also had game-highs of 10 rebounds and 5 assists.
"It was awesome and we want to keep riding the momentum from these two games," Gavin said. "We knew we were right there but we just didn't have everything clicking. The Prospect game was really a good spark for us."
It showed as Gavin, sophomore Matt Ulrich (11 points, 3 assists) and juniors Mike Williams (9 points) and Chris Macahon did all the scoring as the Pirates tore out to a 22-10 lead in the opening 6:20. But after hitting 6 of their first 7 shots, they finished at just 40 percent from the field (14-for-35) as Barrington (4-6, 2-1) went to a 1-3-1 half-court trap to utilize its length and height.
"I thought we did a nice job of playing really two different games tonight," said Palatine coach Eric Millstone. "We were able to play up-and-down and then we were able to grind it out when Barrington went to the 1-3-1. It wasn't always pretty but we were able to do enough."
Especially when the Pirates went into a 7-point drought that lasted nearly 18 minutes. Barrington tied it at 27-27 on Chris Lester's 3 and at 29-29 on a Zach Bart (9 points) layup off Scott Bennett's inbound pass with 7:47 left.
"In the first quarter it felt like we were standing in cement and they were going by us and getting comfortable looks," said Barrington coach Bryan Tucker. "But for us, with a young team, I was impressed with how we just didn't fold when we were down big early. I felt our kids fought and clawed back in it."
The Pirates didn't crumble as Gavin hit three 3s in a two-minute span to put the Pirates up 39-30.
"It was just moving the ball and staying within our offense," Gavin said, "and being ready to shoot when I catch it."
Leber, who had a couple of big first-quarter hustle plays, then sneaked inside to score off a miss for his only points and a 41-33 lead with 3:55 left.
"That's my personality and I know I can do it," Leber said of his leadership, hustle and tough defense.
"Kyle is one of those kids, when you look at the scorebook there isn't a whole lot there," Millstone said. "But he does so many things to put us in a position to be successful."
Austin Madrzyk scored 8 of his 13 points in the final 5:02 to help Barrington get within 2 points twice in the final minute -- the last at 43-41 on Bennett's jumper at 0:26. But Ulrich and Dondre Watson each hit 2 free throws in 1-and-1 situations with 34.3 and 20.6 seconds left.
"We looked at this week as a big week where we could take the next step forward," Millstone said. "It bodes well for us."
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