The last few weeks of the boys basketball season can seem like the winter equivalent of the Dog Days.
But the end of the regular season is close at hand, and what teams do over the last few weeks can determine how they prepare for the state playoffs.
On Tuesday night in Barrington, Bartlett looked prepared for what's to come as the Hawks put together a strong fourth quarter in beating the host Broncos 48-41.
Barrington improved to 14-9 while Barrington fell to 14-9 in the nonconference game.
"We've been playing together with some good chemistry," said Bartlett guard Austin Gates, who led his team with 16 points and 5 rebounds. "We need to keep our offensive game going and play good defense these last few weeks. Tonight our defense did a good job of helping our offense. After our loss to East Aurora over the weekend we needed to get a win tonight."
Both teams struggled from the field as Barrington shot 17-for-42 and Bartlett made 16 of 42. In the first three quarters, the Hawks shot just 9-for-32.
It was the fourth quarter that made the difference as the Hawks outscored Barrington 20-10. Bartlett made 7 of 10 shots down the stretch and 5 of 8 from the free throw line.
"I'll take this one," said Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith. "We had to play this game at our pace. In the fourth quarter we were able to get some slips and curls toward the basket."
"In the first half," said Wolfsmith, "we had some good looks and shots but they didn't fall. Again our defense kept us in the game."
Barrington led 12-11 after the first quarter, cashing in on Bartlett's 6 turnovers, good for 7 points. Barrington committed 6 turnovers but the Hawks did not score off of the miscues.
Jackson Perkins had 6 of his team-high 10 points in the second quarter to tie the game at 22 to end the first half. Perkins had 8 of his team's 27 rebounds.
Barrington nudged ahead to end the third quarter on baskets from Anthony Spann and Jack Reinhard, grabbing a 31-28 lead going into the fourth quarter.
After tying the game at 35 on Perkins basket with 4:18 left in the game the Hawks took over.
Gates scored on an assist from Ben Tompson to break the tie with 3:02 left in the game. Drew Martin hit 2 free throws and Gates went full court after grabbing a rebound for a 41-35 lead with 3:02 left.
"That was a great play by Gates," said Wolfsmith. "It gave us a little room."
Sophomore Mark Johnson hit a free throw, rebounded his missed free throw and scored to make the score 41-38 with 2:07 remaining.
With Bartlett leading 44-41, Tomas Vikonis took a pass from Martin, scored and converted the free throw after being fouled on the play for a 47-41 lead. Vikonis (7 points) then hit the second of 2 free throws with :13 left.
"We were able to run the floor and get some fastbreak points," said Tompson, who scored 10 points. "We were able to get out on the break in the fourth quarter. We passed the ball well and found open players."
Anthony Spann backed up Perkins with 7 points for Barrington.
"We have to eliminate our turnovers and finish plays the last few games we have left," said Perkins. "We've missed a lot of layups. Bartlett did a good job of running down court with the ball. We have to move the ball better and take good shots."