Broncos Brush Off Forgettable First, Push Past Pirates
The shots were not falling early for Barrington Friday night. Hosting the Palatine Pirates, the Broncos shot a dismal 2-for-13 in the first quarter and trailed by as many as 11 points before turning the tides on their MSL West foe for a 57-50 comeback victory. "We had to claw back into this one after a tough start,” said Broncos head coach Bryan Tucker. "I give Palatine a lot of credit how they came out tonight." Palatine opened the contest on a 12-2 spurt that culminated when senior Luke Seiffert (14 points) scored on a layup off of a steal and was subsequently fouled to put him at the charity stripe with 3:52 left in the first stanza. Seiffert calmly knocked down the free throw to give the visitors a 10-point advantage. But that lead would not last. Down 16-5 with 1:23 left in the first, Barrington tallied the last 4 points of the quarter to trim the deficit to 16-9. The rally was on. With two minutes gone in the second quarter, junior forward Will Grudzinski (17 points) drilled a deep three-pointer off glass to cut the Palatine lead to 17-14. Moments later, junior guard Evan Jno-Baptiste (9 points, 2 steals, block) cut it to 17-16 with a beautiful Euro-step move that amped up the home crown even further. "Having guys like Evan, he just brings out the energy and we feed off that," said Grudzinski. "He was key for our comeback and he deserves a lot of the credit for it tonight." After the Baptiste bucket, Palatine punched right back. Seiffert and fellow teammate Tyler Swierczek (19 points) scored the team's next 8 points to go up 25-18 with 1:40 left in the half. However, the Pirates could not gain any more breathing room due to their own miscues. Palatine amassed 10 fouls that gave Barrington every opportunity to keep it close from the line. And the Broncos made them pay, hitting 11-of-12, 6 of those coming with under 1:45 left until the break. Despite shooting just 21% in the first half, Barrington trailed just 26-24 at intermission. Coming out of the break, the Broncos tied the game up at 26 on a Nathan Boldt (12 points) layup at the 6:57 mark. Moments later, Boldt corralled a rebound off a Broncos miss and added the putback that gave the Broncos its first lead of the contest at 28-26 with 6:27 left in the third. "It helps to have a guy like Nate out there," said Grudzinski. "He's a great passer and scorer so defenses can't just collapse … it opens up the floor to get the ball to him. After the Boldt bucket, Barrington buckled down on the defensive end as it held Palatine to 2-for-10 shooting to take a 41-34 lead into the final frame. "I like how we responded in the second half," said Tucker. "The start to the third quarter was awesome and completely changed the game and we were able to sustain it. Palatine made us work for everything, but I think effort points were the difference." Still, Palatine would not go quietly. A bucket by Eric Pecson (6 points) with 5:35 remaining, trimmed the Broncos lead to 44-39. Barrington responded a minute later when Grudzinski nailed another triple to put the Broncos up 8 and the Pirates had no answer. Senior forward Damian Zivak (10 points) put the game on ice in the waning moments going 6-for-6 from the free throw line to help Barrington move to 3-0 on the season. Palatine drops to 1-2. "When you play a team like Barrington that has good length, athleticism and good balance, you try to neutralize that," said Palatine head coach Eric Millstone. "We did a good job of that in the first half, but a the game wore on, they played to their strengths and we had trouble neutralizing it."
Palatine 16 10 8 16 - 50
Barrington 9 15 17 16 - 57