Barrington wraps up MSL West championship
Will Grudzinski and Barrington just weren't in the sharing mood.
Grudzinski scored 24 points to lead the Broncos past host Palatine 41-36 Friday in the final game of the Mid-Suburban League West boys basketball regular season. The win enabled Barrington (23-4, 8-2) to clinch the West title outright with Palatine (19-11, 6-4) finishing second.
Barrington will host MSL East champion Rolling Meadows Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the conference title game. It is a rematch from last year's championship game won by Meadows.
"It is nice to win tonight," Barrington coach Bryan Tucker said. "Especially when we started out in the division 0-1. To come back and win it outright, in such a talented and competitive division, it was huge."
It was a good thing that Grudzinski made the bus for the ride over to Palatine.
The senior, who is bound for Washington University in St. Louis next season, was most of the Broncos' offense for all of the first half and early into the third quarter. Grudzinski scored 19 of Barrington's first 22 points.
"Will has been a man all season and going back to last season," Tucker said. "He has had a target on his back. He just comes out and plays and battles. We are really lucky.
Tucker said Grudzinski is more than a scorer.
"People don't realize all the things he does," Tucker said. "He is finding open guys. Everyone can check the box score for points, but he is out there rebounding and defending."
Grudzinski, who is the returning player of the year in the MSL West, said his fast start was able to help his teammates down the stretch.
"We all got good shots, but the law of averages kicked in for me," Grudzinski said. "If we keep shooting those good shots, they will eventually go in. It is great to start off quick because it opens up other people."
Grudzinski's 3-pointer in the third quarter ignited an 8-0 run as Barrington opened up a 27-18 lead. The Broncos continued their offensive charge to pull ahead 33-20 on a 3-pointer by Daniel Hong with 7:22 to play.
"Will does everything for us," said Hong, who finished with 11 points. "He is a scorer, a rebounder and a facilitator. It was lucky for us he got us off to a quick start. I was missing some shots early. But credit to my teammates and my coaches and Will, who got me the ball and I made them pay for it."
Barrington has now won 9 in a row. During that span, the Broncos have allowed just 33.4 points per game.
Palatine, which hit just 7 of its first 28 shots, made a late run.
The Pirates closed to 36-32 on a 3-pointer by Grant Dersnah (10 points) with 2:57 to play. But Palatine turned the ball over twice and missed 4-of-5 free throws and couldn't get any closer.
"Going into the game, I thought we felt comfortable with where we were at," Palatine coach Eric Millstone said. "We looked at this as a great opportunity. But that Grudzinski is something."
Connor May led Palatine with 12 points and 10 rebounds while DJ Dick had 8 points.