Hong, Barrington deliver sectional title-game OT win over Libertyville
Overtime was Hong time for Barrington.
The Broncos' Daniel Hong knocked down 8 consecutive free throws in overtime as Barrington bounced Libertyville 56-47 Friday in the Class 4A sectional final at Barrington before 2,500 fans.
"Free throws win games," said Hong, who would go 10-for-10 from the free-throw line in overtime and finish with 17 points.
"We lost some games early because of free throws. Coach is always on me about getting the ball late. I think I shoot the best free throws of all of us."
Barrington (27-4) will be making its first supersectional appearance since 2002 when current Barrington athletic director Mike Obsuszt was head coach.
The Broncos meet Glenbrook South in Monday's supersectional at Forest View in Arlington Heights at 7 p.m. Glenbrook South beat New Trier 55-52 Friday.
"We are excited for these kids and how hard they work," Barrington coach Bryan Tucker said. "We knew we had senior leadership and a lot of experience coming into this season. I'll battle with these guys any day of the week."
Barrington had to come from behind three times against a stout Libertyville team to get the game into overtime.
The Broncos played superb defense in the extra period. They forced three turnovers and allowed just one shot by Libertyville. And that shot was blocked by Nate Boldt, who has played his best basketball of the season at the right time of the year.
"My teammates and my coaches have given me confidence all year," said Boldt, who had 13 points along with 6 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.
"I knew I had to step up tonight. We were struggling a little bit, so I had to get to the basket."
Hong got fouled on each of the Broncos' possessions and his free throws helped Barrington to its 14th consecutive win.
"I feel that it is the will of these kids," Tucker said. "We were going to keep fighting until the end. They came together as a team and I felt our defense created a few opportunities."
Behind the play of Chase Bonder, Libertyville (27-8) got off to a great start.
Bonder scored 9 of his 17 points in the first quarter. That along with some scrappy play and a pair of baskets by Will Buchert (13 points) enabled the Wildcats to score 10 unanswered points to lead 14-6.
Barrington battled back to score 9 unanswered points of its own to pull ahead 15-14.
It was 17-16 Broncos when Libertyville scored the final six points of the half and took 21-17 halftime lead on a basket by Jack Huber (8 points)
Libertyville surged ahead with large leads twice in the second half. And on both occasions, Barrington fought its way back.
Libertyville appeared to be in control when Cole Bonder drilled a 3-pointer to put the Wildcats up 39-31 with 5:40 to play. But after coming back twice, Barrington had a third one left in the tank.
Led by Evan Jno-Baptiste (14 points) and Will Grudzinski (9 points), Barrington was able to come all the way back. The Broncos tied the game on a rebound basket and eventual three-point play by Boldt to make it 41-41 with 2:45 to play.
"Our guys executed the game plan well," Libertyville coach Bryan Zyrkowski said. "Credit Barrington, they kept their poise in overtime."
It was a tough end to a terrific season for Libertyville.
The Wildcats set a school record for wins this season. They won the North Suburban Conference title, beating Stevenson three times and Mundelein twice this season. Libertyville also won its first regional title since 2018.
"I am so proud of our team and the work that they put in," Zyrkowski said. "A lot of people doubted them and not really talked about them. But they are somebody that they should be talking about. They have done a lot this season."