Boone's buzzer-beater beats Barrington
Aidyn Boone's step back moved Libertyville a step forward.
Boone drained a step-back three-pointer at the buzzer as top-seeded Libertyville bounced fifth-seeded Barrington 50-47 in the Class 4A sectional semifinals Tuesday at a Barrington. "It was a crazy shot," said Boone, who finished with 25 points, including a trio of three-pointers.
"I am not working on that shot. It's not what I was looking for. But I'll take it. We needed a win. I knew when I shot it it was good. I could feel it."
Libertyville (28-5) advances to the sectional final on Friday for the second consecutive year. The Wildcats will meet the winner if Wednesday's sectional semifinal between second-seeded Stevenson and sixth-seeded Prospect.
It wasn't exactly the shot that Libertyville coach Bryan Zyrkowski wanted his team to take. But Zyrkowski certainly wasn't disappointed in the result.
"I wish we could say that's the way we drew it up," Zyrkowski said. "But when you have a player like Aidyn, with all the confidence in the world, you can draw whatever you want, he will make a play."
Zyrkowski's team had to rally from 11 points down in the first half to even get in position to have a chance.
"I thought we came out a little hesitant." Zyrkowski said. "But at the end of the game, we decided to let our guys play. We have a lot of options, so we let them play a little bit."
The Wildcats had a furious third quarter when they were able to erase all of the deficit and take a 36-35 lead after three quarters.
"It took a while to get a lot of energy," said Will Buchert, who overcame a bad cold to score all six of his points in the second half.
"The second half we made some good halftime adjustments. We knew we had to correct the game plan and energy going forward."
Barrington (21-5) took its last lead on a trio of free throws by Donovan Nichols to make it 42-40 with 6:16 to play.
Libertyville got baskets by Boone and Cole Bonder to pull ahead 44-42 with 5:01 left. After a defensive stop, Libertyville was willing to hold the ball, knowing that not only did they have the lead but they were in the bonus at the free-throw line.
They increased their lead to 46-42 with 1:41 left in a pair of free throws by Bonder.
It appeared the Wildcats were in control after another defensive stop. But when Barrington forced a turnover at half-court on an inbounds play, Alec Schmidts buried a three to make it 46-45.
Bonder's free throw made it 47-45 with 40.2 seconds left. Nichols then tied the game at 47-47 with a short jumper with 27 seconds left.
Libertyville played for the last shot and Boone delivered the win.
"They played a great game and really made us work," Boone said, "They had a great start and we fought back. We knew we could win this."
Barrington felt extremely comfortable shooting in its own gym in the first half. Led by Nichols and Schmidts, the Broncos knocked down 8 of their first 13 shots as they took a 22-11 lead early in the second quarter.
Barrington kept up that pace, drilling 6-of-7 from outside the arc as the lead remained at 11 points with a 28-17 advantage just before the end of the half.
Barrington, which was third in the state last year, graduated 11 seniors from the team. But thanks to a superb effort by the coaches and players, the Broncos were able to have a 21-win season and capture a regional title.
"They made us proud all year long including tonight," Barrington coach Bryan Tucker said. "These guys have been awesome all year. The expectations were that last year's team was great and these guys won't do anything. They had a chip on their shoulder and played hard all the time."
Schmidts led Barrington with 17 points. Nichols had 15 points and Schmidt had 12 points.
Bonder had seven points for Libertyville while Buchert and Jack Huber each had six points,