Barrington pulls away from Bartlett in Hinkle semifinals

It took Barrington two quarters to adjust to Bartlett's defense in the second semifinal of the Hinkle Holiday Classic hosted by Jacobs Monday night.

The Broncos had only a 1-point lead over the Hawks at halftime, 25-24.

After tweaking the offense at intermission, Barrington got a handle on Bartlett's strategy and pulled away in the second half for a 61-41 victory Monday night.

The Broncos will square off with Larkin, winners of the first semifinal, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday for the championship. Barrington last won the tournament in 2009.

Bartlett will battle Loyola Academy at 6 p.m. for third place.

"We were a little bit uncomfortable with what Bartlett was doing defensively at first. They had switched to a gimmick defense. We talked about it at halftime and made adjustments to get some looks," said Barrington coach Bryan Tucker.

"Luckily, we knocked down some shots (in the third quarter) and we got the separation and they had to come out and play more to the style we wanted. I just think we settled down in the second half."

Will Grudzinski, a 6-foot 6 senior, led Barrington's offense with 24 points and pulled down nine rebounds.

"In the first half, we were a bit quick on shots but then we toned it down," Grudzinski said. "We used everyone in the system. We made the right passes and the right plays and that really made the difference."

The senior got a lot of attention from Bartlett's defense.

"They were trying to tag him, take him out of the equation. A lot of kids will get frustrated and force shots and he didn't," Tucker said about Grudzinski. "He stayed unselfish and got his teammates looks and got a couple of huge baskets."

One was a reverse tip at the end of the second quarter that gave the Broncos the lead at the intermission.

Just before the buzzer-beater, Conrad Luczynski, Bartlett's 7-foot-2 center, put the Hawks on top, 24-23. The senior finished the night with a team-high 13 points and eight rebounds.

Luczynski was the focus of Barrington's defense.

"We decided to make him work for his points, He hurts you in a lot of ways - not just with his scoring. He's such a good passer," Tucker said. "We had to make sure they weren't getting buckets off his passing, I thought all of our kids did a really good job of that."

Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith felt his squad let up on their intensity in the second half.

"We stopped playing defense and they kept up their defense. We did not execute," the Bartlett coach said. "We didn't guard up the guys we were supposed to guard up. They got open shots and knocked them down."

Barrington outscored Bartlett 21-11 in the third quarter and led 46-35 at the start of the fourth quarter.

Daniel Hong scored 17 points for the Broncos and teammate Nate Boldt tallied 12.

Tucker expects a high caliber contest with Larkin.

"We know how talented they are. They have shown it throughout this tournament," said Tucker "They have a lot of weapons so I know we will have our hands full."

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