Hoffman Estates boys basketball coach Luke Yanule opened the school's gymnasium for an optional team shootaround on Friday.
Among those who showed up were senior guards Adrian Punzalan and Marshall Davis. It turned out to be well worth their effort.
"We were able to come in take some extra reps shooting," Punzalan said. "We knew that Barrington was coming in and that we would have to step it up and play hard."
Punzalan, Davis and the rest of Hoffman's squad had their motors running in shocking the visiting Broncos 68-58 on Friday night.
The win, coupled with Palatine's victory over Fremd and Conant's win at Schaumburg, once again brought four teams within a game of each other heading into next week's final set of divisional games.
Barrington is tied with the Pirates at 6-3 while the Cougars and Vikings are a game back.
"We shot the heck out of that ball," Yanule said. "More important for us was that we did a nice job in reversing the ball and setting screens that got people open to both take and make those shots. We played a very unselfish game of basketball tonight."
That unselfishness showed as Hoffman Estates (11-11, 3-6) went on a 9-2 run over the final 3:59 of the opening period.
It began with Marquez Woodard's 15-footer followed by a pair of assists from Julian Pablo for their next two buckets, Rudra Patel's 3 and an inside bucket from Sheldon Barnett-Morales.
Davis completed the quarter's scoring with a pair of free throws that put the Hawks up 19-11.
Hoffman's motor was tuned up for distance in the second quarter. The Hawks hit all 6 of their field goals, none from less than 18 feet.
Five were from beyond the arc, from Davis (3) and Punzalan (2). Pablo hit from just over the line to help Hoffman take a 36-22 advantage into the break. The Hawks connected on 7 of 12 from 3-point range in the first half and finished 9-for-16 for the game.
Punzalan, a 5-10 senior who paced the win with 21 points, said the leadership of his best friend Davis (18 points) has been key.
"He's been on the varsity for three years, and prior to every game I tell him to be aggressive, to set the tone," Punzalan said. "He's so athletic that teams make a mistake in playing him because he can do so many things besides shooting the basketball."
The Broncos (19-5, 6-3) closed the margin to 46-40 at the end of the third quarter on 2 of Anthony Spann's 15 points.
Hoffman Estates built its lead back to double-digits over the first 3:48 of the fourth period, thanks to a free throw plus a steal and layup by James Allen. Junior Avan Harris then scored 5 of his 7 points, and a Barnett-Morales pass that set up Pablo put the Hawks ahead 56-45.
Barrington made a final charge by running off seven straight points, featuring 5 of Jack Reinhard's 11 points. The Broncos got within 56-52 with 2:04 left.
But the Hawks protected the lead by going 6-for-6 at the foul line, including 4 consecutive by Punzalan to close out the contest.
Junior Jason Boock led Barrington with 19 points, including three 3-pointers.
Barrington travels to Grayslake Central on Tuesday before hosting Fremd on Friday.
Hoffman also gets a nonconference game on Tuesday against a Northern Lake County Conference foe when it hosts Grant.
The Hawks finish MSL West play by hosting Conant on Friday. Yanule says that game will provide his team a chance to build on Friday's success.
"Our goal is to both stay positive and finish strong," Yanule said. "We have perhaps both the deepest and most unselfish team we've ever had in my time here. We don't have a star in the quality of a Jorden Thornton, but we have our guys who are each willing to do the little things, for someone else to step up and be the scorer. It's a team that learns from its failures and that's one of the reasons that I'm really proud of them."