Barrington rallies to knock off Palatine

Barrington sophomore Oliver Gray going into the proverbial zone offensively in the second half was not unusual.

Barrington coach Bryan Tucker turning to an actual 2-3 zone defense for significant stretches of the final 16 minutes was not business as usual in Friday night's Mid-Suburban West boys basketball opener with visiting Palatine.

Gray scored 12 of his team-high 17 points in the second half as Barrington turned an early 12-point deficit into a late 13-point lead and survived a flurry of last-minute 3-pointers for a 45-43 victory.

"I felt we really bought in on defense and that turned the game around for us and got us the win," said Gray, who came in averaging 20 points a game.

"Defensively we started getting up into them and once we started getting stops we could get out in transition," said Barrington senior Alec Schmidts after scoring 11 of his 13 points in the final 9:52. "Once one person started hitting shots everyone felt the momentum."

Nick Peipert added 8 points and junior guard Adam Baird had 5 assists as Barrington (3-1, 1-0) made 63.6 percent of its shots (14-for-22) in the final three quarters to finish at 56.7 percent (17-for-30). Palatine (2-3, 0-1) got a game-high 23 points from senior Connor May (8-for-16 from the field, 4-for-8 on 3s). May scored 10 and the defending MSL champions led 18-6 on a 3 by Tommy Elter (9 points) with 6:57 left in the first half.

But Barrington scored 16 of the next 19 points to take its first lead at 22-21 with 2:55 left in the third on Gray's top-of-the-key 3 off the glass.

"I just got going and my shot felt good after I hit that lucky bank-in 3," Gray smiled after cashing in on 4 of 6 tries behind the arc and adding 2 assists.

Palatine finally broke a drought of 9:12 to regain the lead at 26-22 on a 3 and layup by May. Another May 3 made it 29-28 with 7:20 left, but Barrington went on a 16-2 spurt for a 44-31 lead with 1:22 to play.

"I thought it was a game-changer for us," Gray said of coming out to start the second half in a zone and then alternating it with the traditional man-to-man.

Tucker smiled and said Barrington had played one possession of zone all season in the first 3 games. It hasn't exactly been a recipe for success on the road to his 499th career victory.

"It was a game of matchups and we had to at least try and take them out of their comfort zone," Tucker said. "I thought our kids did a nice job of communicating and staying on the same page."

Palatine shot 40.5 percent (15-for-37) and 10-for-21 behind the arc but those numbers included four consecutive 3s in the final 1:10. Elter's two 3s in the final 2.5 seconds could only set the final score in the matchup of the last two MSL champions.

"I think we really felt the momentum we had in the game," Schmidts said. "Once we had that there was no looking back."

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