Angie Kirchoff’s three-point attempt that bounced off the rim with three seconds left pretty much typified the way things went for Barrington Thursday night at home against Vernon Hills.
“We couldn’t get anything to drop,” Barrington coach Babbi Barreiro said.
No. 11 Vernon Hills (11-0) built a 21-point lead in the third quarter, then watched unranked Barrington use a 22-4 run to pull within 39-36 with 16.8 second left.
Vernon Hills missed the front end of a bonus opportunity with 10.5 seconds remaining to give the hosts a chance, but the Fillies could not make the Cougars pay and Vernon Hills held on 39-36.
“It’s like we were on a rollercoaster tonight,” said Vernon Hills’ junior guard Sydney Smith, who led all scorers with 17 points including a three-pointer to open the game that gave the Cougars a lead they never relinquished.
“Recently, we’ve been playing where we haven’t come out strong in the first half, but we come and dominate the third quarter which we did tonight,” she added. “The first and third quarters were like up quarters and the second and the fourth quarters were kind of like…eh.”
After Barrington freshman guard Kelly Katis scored on a breakaway layup to pull the Fillies within 12-10 with 6:00 remaining in the second quarter, Smith ignited a 12-4 closing kick by burying her second three-pointer of the game.
The Cougars continued to build their lead in the third quarter, extending the lead to 35-14 by holding Barrington scoreless for 7:41. But the game turned when a driving layup by the Filllies’ Aoife Callanan sparked a 17-3 run by the hosts over the next 7:42. An old-fashioned three-point play by Kirchoff got Barrington to within 39-36 with 16.8 seconds remaining. But there was no panic on the Vernon Hills bench.
“We’ve been playing together, many of us, for so long that we know, we’re like, ‘Hey, we have this,’” Smith said. “We took a timeout and Coach (Paul) Brettner said, ‘Hey, the state semifinal was way closer than this. Take a deep breath, relax, go out there and keep your composure.
“And that’s exactly what we did,” she added. “Obviously, up 21 to up three points with 10 seconds left is not ideal, but we all just kind of said, ‘Guys, let’s finish this’ and we did it.”
Lauren Webb had 11 points and six rebounds for Vernon Hills. Six-foot-2 Meri Bennett-Swanson did not score, but she did add eight rebounds and two blocks. Alexa Resch (seven rebounds) and freshman Bryana Hopkins (eight rebounds) each had eight points for Barrington (9-3), and Kirchoff finished with six.
“That’s the worst shooting night we’ve had in two years,” Barreiro said. “Vernon Hills is a very good team, obviously. They have some good role players and three very good players, although I thought Lexi (Resch) did a nice job on No. 50 (Bennett-Swanson).
“We didn’t give up, but I don’t think we shot 15 percent,” she added. “We just couldn’t get anything down. I didn’t mind the shots. They were good open looks. The girls did a nice job establishing open looks. We just couldn’t get them to fall.”