Barrington gets it done against Conant

 
By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 1/30/2015 10:54 PM

Rapolas Ivanauskas and Chris Lester garner most of the attention for Barrington's boys basketball team.

But it was the Broncos' role players who helped them roll past Conant 39-35 Friday in Barrington.

 

The victory ended a two-game losing streak for Barrington (15-6, 5-2). And it kept the Broncos tied for first in the Mid-Suburban West with Fremd, which beat Schaumburg 59-44.

"We clearly had a tough 72 hours last week," said Barrington coach Bryan Tucker, whose team lost to Conant nine days ago.

"It says it all about these kids. We were missing Chris Lester, and we didn't miss a beat. We just kind of filled in against a team that just had beaten us."

With Lester in street clothes on the bench after injuring his ankle Thursday in practice, and with Ivanauskas struggling from the field, the Broncos found themselves down by as many as 7 points late in the first half.

"These kids were just not going to be denied," Tucker said. "We had guys step up and do the job when we needed it."

Ben Weber was key for the Broncos. Weber led all scorers with 12 points which included a pair of 3-pointers and 6-for-6 shooting from the free throw line down the stretch.

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"It is great having the confidence of the coach behind you," Weber said. "With your teammates cheering you, it makes it even better."

Tristen Becker, who began the season with a broken foot, came off the bench to score 11 points, including three 3s, also played a huge role. His shooting from the outside brought brought the Broncos back in the second half.

"I just have been working hard to bet back into the rotation," said Becker, who didn't play the last time these two teams met. "My teammates were finding me and we have a great group of guys who just keep working it."

While the 6-foot-9 Ivanauskas finished with 9 points and 9 rebounds, he had to work for everything. The junior, who had Conant's 6-6 Chima Oduocha, 6-7 Ryan Davis and 6-10 Jordan Hughes rotating on him, shot just 3-for-15 from the field.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

But along with Weber and Becker, the Broncos got strong play from Will Reinhard, who finished with 5 points. Tucker thought Scott Bennett, who started in place of Lester, played a nice game despite going scoreless.

"Scotty did a great job," Tucker said. "We had him on Danny Sotos. And despite size difference, he did a great job."

Conant (12-8, 4-3) had its eight-game winning streak broken.

The Cougars were without Chris Dulce, who tore his ACL last Saturday. The senior forward will be out for the remainder of the season and had surgery on Friday.

Despite all that, Conant was able to grab a 20-13 advantage late in the first half.

Conant stayed in control through the third quarter thanks to Sotos, who finished with 9 points, and his brother Jimmy, who had 6 points as the Cougars led 29-25 after three.

But missed easy shots and the 13 offensive rebounds that Conant surrendered to Barrington caught up with them as Barrington forged ahead 35-31 with 1:37 to play.

After the teams traded a pair of free throws, Conant, which did not score a basket in the fourth quarter until there were just 50 seconds left to play, finally tallied on drive by Jimmy Sotos to make it 37-35. But Weber nailed the final two of his free throws to clinch the victory.

"We had our opportunities," Conant coach Tom McCormack said. "We gave up some offensive rebounds and we missed some shots close to the basket that we normally make.

"We gave up just 39 points to a very good team. But we didn't score very well. It happens."

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