Barrington finishes strong again, tops Conant

Early deficits are not bothering Barrington on the way to grabbing the early lead in the Mid-Suburban West boys basketball race.

The Broncos used a familiar formula for the second consecutive Friday night when they hosted Conant. They dug in on defense to allow only 17 points in the final three quarters and methodically pulled away to a 42-34 victory.

"We don't overreact to things," said Barrington junior guard Adam Baird after scoring a game-high 13 points on 6-for-7 shooting. "We stay calm when things aren't going our way. We tightened up our man-to-man and a little bit of zone helped us. We made some little matchup changes as well."

The Broncos (5-1, 2-0) are also proving to be tough to defend with their unselfishness. Baird, who only scored 3 points in a win over Palatine last week, had a driving 3-point play and nice move in the lane for an underhand scoop to put them ahead to stay at 33-29 after three quarters.

"He takes what's given to him," said Barrington coach Bryan Tucker. "(Last week) it was distributing and creating scoring opportunities for the team. Tonight he had to be a little more aggressive and finish for himself."

Conant (4-4, 1-1) got within 33-31 on a drive by junior Yusuf Cisse (12 points, 6 rebounds) with 5:24 left but Barrington senior Gaberial Gueyikian (9 points), who hit two first-half 3-pointers, drove the baseline for a 3-point play at 4:49. No one scored for the next 4:05 and the Broncos sealed the win as Nick Peipert (8 points, 5 rebounds) hit 4 consecutive free throws and Alec Schmidts (5 points, 11 rebounds) hit a pair in the final 44 seconds.

Sophomore leading scorer Oliver Gray added 7 points on 3-for-6 shooting as the Broncos finished at 46.9 percent from the field (15-for-32).

"My teammates put me in a good position and I saw opportunities to score today," Baird said. "We just work together as a team and whoever has the hot hand is who we find."

Conant was hot early as Bradley Biedke (10 points) sandwiched a pair of 3s around one from junior Camden Lathos en route to a 17-13 lead after a quarter. But the 7-for-15 start from the field cooled to 30.4 percent overall (14-for-46) and its only 3 in 16 attempts in the final three quarters was from Austin Potocnic with 15.5 seconds to play.

"They played extremely hard and extremely well and they're so well-coached," said Conant coach Matt Walsh. "I thought in the first half we were able to hit some shots but it was almost fools gold. They're really good defensively and we lacked half-court execution."

Baird helped slow Biedke to miss his last seven 3s and Schmidts contained 17-point averager Lathos to 7 points on 2-for-12 shooting. Throwing in some 2-3 zone again also took Conant out of its early second-half rhythm after it grabbed a 27-23 lead.

"The last couple of Fridays we've faced some pretty talented teams and it's early so you don't know what you're going to get," Tucker said. "The guys have impressed me with their character and poise."

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