Stricker sets the tone as Palatine wins at Barrington
Palatine boys basketball coach Eric Millstone had nothing but praise for senior guard Jovone Stricker after the Pirates defeated host Barrington 56-42 Friday night in the Mid-Suburban West.
"Jovone is a tough kid," said Millstone. "He's a leader. He had a nice game tonight, and I'm glad to see that because it validates just what kind of a player he is."
Stricker scored 7 points at the end of the third quarter to give the Pirates some breathing room after the host Broncos had crept to within 1 point. And then Stricker really poured it on in the final stanza.
The senior score 10 more points in the fourth quarter, including 8-for-8 from the foul line -- to finish with 17 as Palatine pulled away down the stretch.
"We turned it up," said Pirates sophomore Johnny O'Shea of his team's second-half performance "We were running the floor, and our playmakers were making plays. We got fired up."
Palatine had the lead from the get-go, running out to a quick 15-7 advantage behind 6 first-quarter points from O'Shea.
Barrington fought back in the second quarter, closing the gap behind 6-foot-6 post players Ethan Small (12 points, 7 rebounds) and Will Reinhard (16 points, 8 boards).
A big third quarter from Small, including three straight buckets, saw Barrington close to within 29-28.
Then Stricker took over, and his 3-pointer at the third period buzzer saw the Pirates take a 40-28 lead.
The Broncos were able to get within 6 late in the fourth, but Stricker, O'Shea (3 free throws in the final minutes) and Matt Ulrich helped close out the game at the foul line.
"With the style of game the way it was, Palatine did a nice job," said Barrington coach Bryan Tucker. "They're well coached, organized and aggressive. They're a talented team and they're lucky to have a coach like coach Millstone at the helm.
"We used a lot of energy trying to make our comeback in the third quarter, but when a bounce or two then a whistle or two doesn't go your way, the game changes."
Ben Weber added 10 points for Barrington, including a couple of 3-pointers to open the fourth quarter, while O'Shea scored 12 for Palatine and Ulrich added 8.
Despite the big games by Barrington big men Small and Reinhard, both Millstone and O'Shea thought they did a good job on 'D' in the post.
"We were trying to play physical and frustrate them," said O'Shea, "and make them kick the ball out when they got it inside."
"They (Barrington) are a good, big, physical team," Millstone said. "We felt that defense inside was the key. We were able to get the advantage tonight, but if we played them a few more times, who knows what the outcome would be?"