Barrington bounces back with win over Conant

 
By Lou Nunez Jr.
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 1/14/2022 10:15 PM

After enduring a tough Mid-Suburban West boys basketball loss at Hoffman Estates Tuesday night, Barrington, the reigning division champ faced for all intents and purposes a must-win situation as it hosted Conant Friday.

The Broncos (2-2) entered the contest tied with the Hawks a game back of 3-1 Palatine and half-game back of Fremd and the visiting Cougars each, of whom were 2-1.

 

Thanks in large part to its senior-laden unit, Barrington responded successfully to a spirited Conant effort, posting a 44-34 win which keeps the Broncos (14-4, 3-2) a game back of Palatine, which won at Hoffman, and a half-game behind Fremd, which defeated Schaumburg in Friday's other Mid-Suburban West action.

It was a game that was much closer than its final would indicate as the Broncos would need to put together two separate runs in the final eight minutes of play to earn the victory.

The first surge came after Cougar sophomore Camden Lathos connected with a 12-footer for 2 of his team-high 10 points that brought the Cougars within 28-25 with 6:57 left.

Washington University commit Will Grudzinski then got things rolling with 2 of his game-high 19 points. Next, senior teammate Evan Jno-Baptiste (11 points) connected from beyond the arc and then followed that up with a 3-point play that came after a Lathos trey that put Barrington up 36-28 with 4:42 left.

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Yet, Conant (9-7, 2-2) would come back as it went on a 6-0 run that placed it within 38-34 on Isaac Hanley's 3 with 2:22 remaining.

Grudzinski (13 rebounds) and fellow senior Daniel Hong (2-2) would salt the game away at the foul line as Barrington shut the Cougars out the rest of the way.

Jno-Baptiste, a UW-Milwaukee baseball recruit, acknowledged the difficulty that Conant brought to his team.

"They're a tough team and they tested us," Jno-Baptiste said. "All props to them, they're well-coached and a well-disciplined team. That's what these MSL teams do."

Broncos coach Bryan Tucker, whose squad hosts Grant Saturday night in a nonconference game, praised his veteran unit.

"It's good to have that senior leadership and after Tuesday night we felt that getting ready for tonight was going to be about character and showing who these kids were and I think you saw it tonight," Tucker said. "And we saw it on Wednesday and Thursday in practice. Great effort. Great attitude and they responded really well to a tough fight."

Conant will travel to Wheeling Saturday afternoon for a makeup MSL crossover that was postponed from its original January 4 date as a result of COVID-19 protocols.

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