Hong's career night helps Barrington reach sectional final

  • Barrington's Daniel Hong is defended by Fremd's Eli Schoffstall in a Class 4A Barrington boys basketball sectional game on Tuesday, March 1, 2022.

      Barrington's Daniel Hong is defended by Fremd's Eli Schoffstall in a Class 4A Barrington boys basketball sectional game on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Fremd's Cameron Kuhl passes away from the defense of Barrington's Daniel Hong in a Class 4A Barrington boys basketball sectional game on Tuesday, March 1, 2022.

      Fremd's Cameron Kuhl passes away from the defense of Barrington's Daniel Hong in a Class 4A Barrington boys basketball sectional game on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Barrington's Will Grudzinski shoots a jump shot over Fremd's Caiden Suchy and Cameron Kuhl in a Class 4A Barrington boys basketball sectional game on Tuesday, March 1, 2022.

      Barrington's Will Grudzinski shoots a jump shot over Fremd's Caiden Suchy and Cameron Kuhl in a Class 4A Barrington boys basketball sectional game on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Fremd's Caiden Suchy commits a charging foul against Barrington's Tyler Groom in a Class 4A Barrington boys basketball sectional game on Tuesday, March 1, 2022.

      Fremd's Caiden Suchy commits a charging foul against Barrington's Tyler Groom in a Class 4A Barrington boys basketball sectional game on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Fremd's Chris Smyros loses the ball with pressure from Barrington's Tyler Groom in a Class 4A Barrington boys basketball sectional game on Tuesday, March 1, 2022.

      Fremd's Chris Smyros loses the ball with pressure from Barrington's Tyler Groom in a Class 4A Barrington boys basketball sectional game on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Fremd's Caiden Suchy stretches over the shoulder of Barrington's Nate Boldt in a Class 4A Barrington boys basketball sectional game on Tuesday, March 1, 2022.

      Fremd's Caiden Suchy stretches over the shoulder of Barrington's Nate Boldt in a Class 4A Barrington boys basketball sectional game on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Barrington's Nick Bordenet is caught between Fremd's Chris Smyros and Eli Schoffstall, right, as he tries to steal the ball in a Class 4A Barrington boys basketball sectional game on Tuesday, March 1, 2022.

      Barrington's Nick Bordenet is caught between Fremd's Chris Smyros and Eli Schoffstall, right, as he tries to steal the ball in a Class 4A Barrington boys basketball sectional game on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Barrington's Nick Bordenet fouls Fremd's Eli Schoffstall in a Class 4A Barrington boys basketball sectional game on Tuesday, March 1, 2022.

      Barrington's Nick Bordenet fouls Fremd's Eli Schoffstall in a Class 4A Barrington boys basketball sectional game on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 3/1/2022 9:49 PM

Daniel Hong's move to Barrington paid huge dividends Tuesday.

Hong, who moved to Barrington two years ago, showed Tuesday how comfortable he feels in a Broncos uniform. The senior scored a career-high 32 points to lead the Broncos past Fremd 68-48 before 1,300 fans in the Class 4A Barrington sectional.

 

"I live for moments like this," Hong said. "Everyone has welcomed me with open arms. I can't stress what this community has done for me. 7

Barrington, playing its first home sectional game since 1989, converted its first 7 field goal attempts. The Broncos went on to shoot 65% (24-of-37) for the game.

"I knew it was a great start," Barrington coach Bryan Tucker said. "What did I say Friday? The game is a lot easier when the ball is going in."

Barrington (26-4), which is the top-seed in the sectional, will play in the title game on Friday at 7 p.m. against the winner of Wednesday's semifinal between second-seeded Libertyville and third-seeded Stevenson.

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Fremd and Barrington had split their two season meetings earlier this season. Fremd beat Barrington in December and Barrington came back to win in January.

Both Barrington and Fremd had been playing exceptionally well heading into Tuesday's game. Fremd had won 8 of its last 9 coming into the game while Barrington is now on a 13-game winning streak and has won 18 in a row at home.

Barrington looked comfortable from the onset.

With Will Grudzinski, who scored 9 of his 16 points in the first quarter, led the way early. Barrington knocked down its first 7 shots including a trio of 3-pointers to take a 20-8 lead.

Fremd (20-10) batted hard defensively, doubling Grudzinski at times. That gave Hong and 6-foot-10 Nate Boldt an opportunity to do further damage.

Hong was hitting inside and out. Boldt, who finished with a season-high 14 points along with 8 rebounds and 2 blocks, was a force.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It was a whole team effort," Boldt said. "They wouldn't leave Will. That left Daniel and I free. But even when Will isn't scoring he impacts the game."

Tucker liked the way his team adjusted to the defense on Grudzinski.

"It looked like Fremd was pretty committed to not having Will beat them," Tucker said. "We are pretty OK with that because we have some pretty good players."

Barrington continued its hot shooting, drilling 15-of-19 from the field in the first half. The Broncos also knocked down 6 3-pointers as they built a 37-24 lead at the half.

Fremd, which overcame a 17-point deficit in its win over Barrington earlier this season, picked up its defensive intensity in the second half. Twice the Vikings got the lead down to 9 and had an opportunity to make it closer.

But missed shots and Hong's shooting and ballhandling down the stretch was the difference,

"They had a lot of weapons," Fremd coach Bob Widlowski said. "We are very proud of our season. And I am very pleased with our seniors."

Fremd was led Eli Schoffstall, who finished with 17 points. Ryan Sammons and Caiden Suchy each had 10 points while Chris Smyros had 5 points.

It was the final game for Smyros and Schoffstall, who both were three-year starters for Fremd. They were also were the final members of their respective families to play for Fremd.

"Those kids have won a lot of games for Fremd High School," Widlowski said. "They have won a lot of championships. But more importantly, they are good kids from great families. It is end to a big era of Fremd sports."

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