Barrington stymies Conant

 
By Bill McLean
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 2/4/2022 11:22 PM

Mask timeouts 1, Broncos 0.

That's what Barrington's boys basketball team faced -- after 4-plus minutes of action -- in its road game against Conant on Friday night.

 

"I suggested to our guys, during the timeout, that we should try to score," Broncos coach Bryan Tucker cracked.

Conant's Cougars had scored only 2 points before the first mandated break in action in the Mid-Suburban League West game.

A 3-pointer from Barrington senior guard Daniel Hong halted the shutout at the 2:56 mark of the first quarter, and the visitors -- particularly 6-foot-6 senior forward Will Grudzinski -- found their footing from there en route to a 40-26 victory.

"We knew Conant's patient offense likes to have minute possessions," said Grudzinski, who amassed game highs of 21 points (4 treys) and 9 rebounds as Barrington improved to 20-4 overall and 7-2 in the MSL West. "We also knew we had to deny passes and be patient ourselves.

"Down 2-0, midway through the first quarter, we didn't panic. We remained confident. I'm competitive; we all are. And we had to be, especially against a tough, defensive-minded team like Conant."

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Grudzinski, blessed with a smooth, sweet shooting form, hit his biggest 3-pointer with 56 ticks left in the second quarter. Cougars sophomore Camden Lathos (8 points) had nailed a 3-pointer of his own 18 seconds earlier, cutting Barrington's lead to 20-15.

Lathos drilled another triple midway through the fourth frame, before Grudzinski responded quickly again, this time with a field goal less than a minute later to up the Broncos' advantage to a fairly comfortable 36-23.

"That (No.) 32 (Grudzinski) was phenomenal," Conant coach Matt Walsh lauded after his squad slipped to 13-11, 4-5. "Phenomenal. But, you know what? I'm really proud of our guys. We were competitive. We came ready to play. I also thought we played really good defense.

"Barrington," he added, "played really good defense, too."

Indeed. The Broncos, who had allowed only 31 points in an impressive defeat of Hoffman Estates on Tuesday night, limited Conant to a scant 11 second-half points after earning a 23-15 lead at intermission.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Barrington also outrebounded the hosts 12-4 after the break.

Hong (8 points, 6 rebounds) was steady at point guard once again, taking good care of the ball and delivering swift, on-the-mark entry passes all night. Broncos senior Nate Boldt, meanwhile, did a little of this and a little of that as a 6-10 center, finishing with 4 points, 4 boards (3 in the second quarter), 1 steal and 1 block.

Sophomore guard Yusuf Cisse netted at least 2 points in each quarter and paced Conant with 10 points, flashing his brand of speed and quickness at both ends of the court. He and senior guard Colin Francia (5 points) combined for 5 points in a 32-second span early in the third quarter, trimming Barrington's lead to 25-20.

The Broncos then sealed their season sweep of Conant with a 15-6 run in the final 12:10.

"We fought through some things," Tucker said. "I'm proud of the way our kids competed, of the way they responded after the first mask timeout.

"I'm also proud of what they accomplished tonight."

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