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Barrington’s Will Grudzinski heats up in third quarter to take down Palatine

Barrington’s basketball team is made up of a group of local kids, but the pieces in the starting lineup fit together as well as a meticulously recruited college team.

Barrington’s Will Grudzinski (32) shoots and hits a three against Palatine.
Barrington’s Will Grudzinski (32) shoots and hits a three against Palatine.
Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Barrington’s basketball team is made up of a group of local kids, but the pieces in the starting lineup fit together as well as a meticulously recruited college team.

Daniel Hong is an actual point guard, which is a rarity in the area this season.

Shooting guard Evan Jno-Baptiste handles the ball well and does all the little things a successful team needs. He’ll play baseball in college at Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Nate Boldt, a 6-9 senior, recently committed to Illinois Wesleyan. He’s a rapidly improving, mobile big man who is able to take some of the pressure off fellow senior Will Grudzinski.

Barrington’s Nate Boldt (24) looks to pass around Palatine’s Grant Dersnah (31).
Barrington’s Nate Boldt (24) looks to pass around Palatine’s Grant Dersnah (31).
Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Grudzinski committed to Washington University last month and has been on a tear recently. He caught fire in the third quarter Friday and led the Broncos to a 55-41 victory against visiting Palatine.

‘‘He’s a ton,’’ Barrington coach Bryan Tucker said of Grudzinski. ‘‘That’s why colleges were all over him. He can play, and he’s been through the battles with us. This is his third year on varsity, and those are the kids that need to step up.’’

Grudzinski finished with 27 points and six rebounds. He was 5-for-7 from three-point range.

‘‘He’s a little more comfortable now understanding what is a good shot,’’ Tucker said. ‘‘He’s tagged all the time. Other teams are trying to stop him. He’s gotten more comfortable getting other guys open and distributing a bit and knowing that when he does that the pressure comes off him.’’

Palatine (11-6, 3-1 Mid-Suburban League West) led by six at halftime. But Grudzinski scored 13 points in an 18-4 run in which the Broncos (13-3, 2-1) took control of the game.

‘‘I still want to be aggressive, but I have to understand my role in the situation,’’ Grudzinski said. ‘‘It’s not like I have to go out and throw up a lot of shots. We can work off each other. It really helps having a lot of talent on the team.’’

Jno-Baptiste added nine points and Boldt seven points and five rebounds. Barrington held the Pirates to two points in the fourth quarter and outrebounded them 16-4 in the second half.

‘‘At halftime, Coach really emphasized our energy and intensity on defense,’’ Boldt said. ‘‘They got a lot of second-chance points, and we had to switch that around in the second half.’’

Junior Grant Dersnah led Palatine with 10 points, and junior Tyler Swierczek added nine.

‘‘They got themselves a little bit of a rhythm, and we just couldn’t do anything to stop it,’’ Pirates coach Eric Millstone said. ‘‘It was a good team getting some good looks and taking advantage of that and us just not playing together in the second half.’’

Barrington lost to Hononegah during Thanksgiving week and to Fremd in December. Then the Broncos ripped off eight consecutive victories before losing a close game to Larkin in the semifinals of the Jacobs Holiday Tournament.

That’s a successful start to the season, and the two future college players, Grudzinski and Boldt, are just beginning to realize their full potential.

‘‘We have multiple options and guys that can control the pace and handle the ball under pressure,’’ Tucker said. ‘‘That’s definitely a luxury. We have some great kids.’’