For senior captain Sam Sternberg, preparation met opportunity Friday night, as the Warriors topped Barrington 45-41 in overtime in the Class 4A Libertyville Regional Final.
With the Warriors clinging to a two point lead in the extra frame and Barrington (19-11) inbounding under their own hoop, Sternberg stole the inbounds pass and was fouled at the other end of the floor just before taking a shot. He stepped to the line and knocked down two clutch free throws to give the Warriors a four point lead.
"On that inbounds pass, we actually scouted that play," Sternberg said. "I knew that was coming and I was thinking all last night that I was going to steal that pass if they threw it."
Sternberg's free throws helped seal an improbable Warriors win. Deerfield (18-10) did not hit a shot from the field in the fourth quarter or overtime, but went 18-23 from the free throw line during that stretch. For the game, Deerfield connected on 22-of-29 free throws, just two nights after missing 13 free throws in the
"Two nights ago was putrid," Deerfield senior forward Jack Carney said. "So we practiced a lot of free throws yesterday. Coming in, we knew that was going to be the key to the game tonight and we stepped up and hit them. We were all confident coming up to the line and we were ready to shoot."
Barrington opened the game by going on a 15-4 run that lasted into the second quarter. However, Deerfield closed the first half on a 13-2 run to take a 17-17 tie into the locker room at halftime.
Neither team was able to get much offense going in the second half. Deerfield used four three throws to tie the game 32-32 late in the fourth quarter. Both teams had a chance to win it in regulation, but neither team was able to get a shot off.
Deerfield went 13-16 from the line in overtime to seal the win. Carney led the way with 12 points, going 9-of-10 from the line, including 6-of-6 in ovetime. Senior guard Josh Schur scored 10 points while Sternberg chipped in eight and seven rebounds. Alex Sacks added seven points for the Warriors.
Barrington was led by junior forward John Schneider with 11 points and six boards. Sophomore point guard Brad Zaumseil had nine points and five assists while senior guards Greg Gerrard and Tyler Weathered each scored seven points.
With the win, Deerfield claims their second straight regional title. They will play Mundelein in the Barrington Sectional Semifinal March 9th at 7:30 pm.
Click on the video link above for a complete game recap and post game reaction.