Hodges' wingspan comes in handy for Schaumburg in win over Barrington
It was a no-brainer.
Chris Hodges is 6-foot-8.
He has a 7-foot-2 wingspan.
There was no one better for Schaumburg coach Wade Heisler to put on Barrington's inbounder with 0.9 seconds left.
The visiting Broncos were trailing by one and had to cover essentially the length of the court to get a shot off.
But none of their shooters even touched the ball because Hodges batted down the baseball-style inbounds pass with his long reach and Schaumburg held on for a 51-50 Mid-Suburban West boys basketball win on Friday night.
"I knew I had to be crazy right there on the ball," Hodges said. "I knew I had to be active on the ball. The game depended on it. I had to give it my all."
Hodges' batting down of the inbounds pass was an emphatic end to a nerve-wracking fourth quarter for the Saxons, who saw their lead that had ballooned to as many as 12 points at one point continue to shrink and shrink.
"Tip your hat to Barrington, I think they're really good and a really tough matchup," Heisler said. "They're big and strong and physical and deep and they're well-coached so that team is never put away. That was our message all week. They've had games like that during the season where you've seen them down and they come back in, so you knew it was going to be one of those things where it was going to be tough down the stretch."
Schaumburg (17-3 overall, 4-1 MSL West), which saw Barrington tie the game at 34 just 20 seconds into a fourth quarter that would be nip-and-tuck the entire rest of the way, got some big plays down the stretch from Hodges, Jared Schoo and Arnav Karnik.
Schoo finished with 17 points and Karnik essentially sealed the game with a 3-pointer and a steal and layup in the final minute.
Hodges, who is a Division I recruit and averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds per game, was held to just 7 points but had a big basket in the paint and some key rebounds, not to mention his big play on the inbounds pass, in the final moments.
"It wasn't an easy challenge trying to limit (Hodges) but our kids played their hearts out doing it," said Barrington coach Bryan Tucker, whose team often had Hodges double- and triple-teamed. "It (focusing on Hodges) is tough to do because they have other kids with a lot of abilities.
"We felt like what really happened is that we lost this game in the first quarter tonight, certainly the first half. But having said that, I'm really proud of how our kids responded and how they kept fighting and we were right there in the end. We had a chance to win the game after a tough start. That's a lot of character with these guys."
Barrington (13-5 overall, 2-3 MSL West) got double-figure scoring out of Damian Zivak, who had a game-high 19 points and Will Grudzinski, who had 10 points. Aaron Sarkar finished with 8 points and Dylan Keenan had 7 points.
For Schaumburg, AJ Prowell added 7 points and Joseph Sturino had 6 points on two 3-pointers.
"We've just got to be focused on the bus, the whole day before the game, get a good night's rest, it just comes down to the little things," said Zivak, pondering how Barrington can get off to better starts in the future. "We had a shot to really win that game. But we should take this into our game (today against Dundee-Crown) and we're going to be biting at the bit to get a W. We're definitely going to try to take this momentum forward."