Palatine hands Barrington first loss

 
By Bill McLean
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 12/13/2019 11:26 PM

Palatine boys basketball coach Eric Millstone was way overdressed Friday night at Barrington.

Dozens of rabid Pirates student fans -- clad in various choices of beachwear -- bounced and cheered in a section of bleachers behind Millstone throughout the clash of Mid-Suburban League West teams with 1-0 records.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Some wore sunglasses and hats. Others wore baggy shorts and flip-flops and Hawaiian shirts.

One had covered her nose in zinc oxide ointment.

"What? Why am I not wearing beach clothes tonight?" Millstone, cracking a smile, said after his Pirates defeated Barrington's Broncos 59-49.

"Too cold for that," he added.

Too hot. Behold the two words to describe Palatine's night from 3-point sand (no, territory). Palatine senior guard Tommy Swanson struck for all 18 of his points via the trey, and three of his teammates combined for 4 more buckets from beyond the arc.

Nothing captured the essence of Palatine's big night against undefeated Barrington better than a 24-second span in the third quarter did. With the visitors up 31-29 at the 5:43 mark, Swanson nailed his final bomb. On the Pirates' next possession, the 6-foot-3, 175-pound Swanson found 6-7, 310-pound junior forward Julian Campbell wide open in 3-point real estate and zipped a pass to him.

Campbell (game-highs of 22 points and 13 rebounds) drained it -- his ninth of the season -- and Palatine suddenly had a 37-29 advantage.

Broncos coach Bryan Tucker call a timeout in hopes of stemming the tide and preventing Palatine's fans from getting the opportunity to Hang Ten atop hardwood.

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"Turning point," Swanson said of the consecutive 3-pointers.

"First place (in the MSL West)," Campbell said after Palatine improved to 3-4, 2-0. "We made big shots tonight. We stayed together."

Pirates senior guard Connor Aikman (10 points) hit a pair of 3s, including one in the middle of an 8-0 spurt that expanded Palatine's lead to 56-43 at 3:10 of the final frame. Senior guard Shailan Rajpurkar also connected for a triple.

"We made the extra pass before a lot of our 3-pointers, and Julian showed his strength in the post," Millstone said. "I liked how smooth our possessions were, along with our spacing, and we played grittier defense than we did on Monday night (in a 57-48 loss to Hersey)."

Swanson tallied 12 of Palatine's 18 points in the first quarter. Barrington (6-1, 0-1) tied it at 21 at 2:43 of the second quarter, thanks to junior forward Damian Zivak's 5 points in an 8-0 stretch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Tough, tough," Tucker said of the 6-5 Bronco, who finished with 12 points (1 fewer than team leader Connor Groom's total) and a team-high 7 boards. "Damian battles."

Campbell, the recipient of several lofty, right-on entry passes from senior reserve guard Brandon Hernandez, and Swanson combined for the final 5 points of the second quarter.

Millstone's team led 26-21 at the break.

Barrington trailed only 43-39 after three quarters and 48-43 after 2 minutes had expired in the fourth.

But Palatine never flinched at that juncture.

And pretty much sailed to victory.

"Palatine," Tucker said, "hurt us inside and outside; we couldn't take anything away from them. At the defensive end of the court, we did not play well.

"We should learn from a loss like this, and if we do, we'll look back at it and consider it a good night."

Broncos senior forward Dylan Keenan and senior guard Aaron Sarkar scored 7 points apiece, and Barrington senior center Connor Keenan came down with 3 of his 5 rebounds in the final quarter.

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