Grudzinski steps up as Barrington dumps Hoffman Estates
Barrington's depth sure pays off.
With point guard Aaron Sarkar hurt, sophomore forward Will Grudzinski got a start Thursday night at home against Hoffman Estates.
And he made the most of it.
Barrington's 9 straight points to close the first quarter included his soft-touch 3-pointer and a hoop inside and it helped Barrington establish a lead that it would never surrender en route to a 43-23 Mid-Suburban West boys basketball win.
Grudzinski's shooting, four 3-pointers in 7 attempts, helped open it up inside for 6-foot-5 junior forward Damian Zivak, who shared game scoring honors with Grudzinski at 14 apiece.
Shorter, foul-plagued Hoffman, despite the nonstop energy of guard Vatsal Pandya (13 points), could not keep up on the boards.
Barrington coach Bryan Tucker is grateful for the depth.
"We're playing without Aaron Sarkar. He brings so much to the table," Tucker said. "But Grudzinski, he's a talented kid. He's kept a great attitude. He's more confident."
As to the 6-8 sophomore bombing away, he has the coach's blessing.
"I have a green light," Grudzinski acknowledged. "I feel more confident."
And Barrington felt more confident coming out for the third quarter after Pandya and forward Nate Fisher shot Hoffman back into the game at 18-13 at the half.
The Broncos (15-6, 3-3) responded with a 7-1 run to open the third, keyed by Evan Jno-Baptise's driving bucket and Grudzinski's next pair of treys, back-to-back, for a 28-16 lead. Zivak, operating in more comfortable space inside subsequently, scored the final 4 points of the quarter and Barrington took an insurmountable lead into the final period, despite Pandya desperately keeping Hoffman (6-11, 0-6) within 10.
The Broncos are just trying now to keep it together after 18 turnovers without their injured point guard.
"Sarkar really takes good care of the ball," Grudzinski said.
And when it comes down to it, the Broncos' 3-3 record in the West just might be a bit deceiving.
Save for division losses on a late overtime basket and a regulation buzzer-beater, respectively, Tucker noted, "We're two possessions away from being 5-1."