Grudzinski, Barrington lock Palatine out
Barrington's Will Grudzinski was like a locksmith Friday.
He was locked in while keeping Palatine locked out.
Grudzinski scored 27 points to lead the host Broncos past Palatine 55-41 to move Barrington back into a tie for first place in the Mid-Suburban League's boys basketball West Division.
"He is a ton," Barrington coach Bryan Tucker said. "That is why colleges were all over him; he can play. He has been through the battles now. This is his third year up on the varsity. Those are the kids that need to step up."
Grudzinski, who is verbally committed to Washington University in St. Louis, was clicking on the offensive end. He was 10-of-15 from the field, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range.
"I was pretty focused going into today," said the 6-foot-6 Grudzinski, who also had 5 rebounds. "Because (the Pirates) were ranked number one (in the MSL West). No matter how it started we had to be focused all throughout the game. It was being locked in the whole time."
While Grudzinski was locked in, he was not quite loaded to begin the game.
Palatine (10-6, 3-1) had Grudzinski closed in throughout the first quarter. The Pirates limited his touches and Grudzinski scored just 2 points.
Meanwhile Palatine was rolling. Trailing 12-9 with 2:40 left in the quarter, the Pirates scored the final 10 points of the quarter with Grant Dersnah scoring 5 of those points.
Grudzinski and Barrington (13-3, 2-1) began to pick things up from there. He hit a pair of 3-pointers to pull the Broncos even at 24.
But Palatine's Bobby Widlowski hit a basket and Sam Millstone a 3-pointer as the Pirates led 31-25 at the half.
Palatine led 33-28 early in the third quarter when the Broncos and Grudzinski made their move.
Evan Jon-Baptiste (9 points) ignited an 11-2 run. Barrington was able to then surge ahead 39-35 on a 3-pointer by Grudzinski.
The Broncos led 42-39 after three quarters when their defense took over. They forced 6 Palatine turnovers in the quarter and allowed the Pirates to attempt just 2 shots and score just 2 points in the final quarter.
"We were disappointed in the first half where we gave them so run outs off our turnovers," Tucker said. "We needed to tighten that up we said best defensive team was going to win the game. And (then) to hold them to 10 points in the second half."
On the offensive end, Grudzinski and 6-10 Nate Boldt took over. Grudzinski hit his fifth 3-pointer and Boldt had a pair of 3-point plays, as the Broncos pulled away.
"I think Will getting hot opened things up for me inside," said Boldt, who recently verbally committed to Illinois Wesleyan.
Boldt and Nick Bordenet each finished with 7 points. Daniel Hong had 5 points as only the five Barrington starters were able to score.
Dersnah led Palatine with 10 points. Tyler Swierczak had 9 points and Millstone and Connor May each had 10 points.
"We played a very good first half, but it is a 32-minute game," Palatine coach Eric Millstone said. "I thought we kind of lost our toughness in the second half and I thought Barrington capitalized on that."