Barrington happy to be through tournament season

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BARRINGTON — The Barrington girls basketball team is looking forward to getting into a routine.

After two holiday tournaments where the Fillies played nine of their first 16 games, January promises normalcy.

“Tournaments can get long, and you have to be back there every day,” sophomore center Megan Talbot said. “I think as a team we like playing regular games.”

The way Barrington played at the end of 2013 could be an indicator of how it will fare in 2014. The Fillies are good, finishing the year with a record of 13-3. But can they be great?

Possessing two post players 6-foot or taller — sophomore Megan Talbot stands 6-foot-1, sophomore Bailee McDonald 6-foot — the Fillies have a built-in advantage in every game they play. If Barrington can consistently run offense through Talbot and McDonald, it could be a force in the MSL West.

But the Fillies will have to solve the way defenses are playing them.

On Dec. 30 against Stevenson, Barrington was in control for most of the game, leading by 10 points late in the third quarter. The Patriots had switched their defense from a 1-3-1 zone to a 2-3 zone earlier in the second half. By the fourth quarter, the Fillies began to struggle as extra defenders bracketed Talbot and McDonald in the blocks.

“We were trying to get it in to them, playing high-low,” senior guard Brooke Gunderson said. “Stevenson was doing a good job collapsing on them. That was the problem.”

And when Talbot or McDonald looked to pass out of the double team, Fillies guards were tentative.

“We didn’t do a good job attacking the seams of the zone. We weren’t driving and dishing, just passing around the arc,” Gunderson said.

Coach Babbi Barreiro added, “We’ve seen 2-3 [defense] all year long. I don’t mind teams playing it, we just have to move a little better. I thought we were a little stagnant.”

As a result, the Fillies eventually lost the game in overtime, 65-61. The close margin of defeat mirrored Barrington’s other two losses this season, both two-point defeats. In a Dec. 27 loss to Mother McAuley, the Fillies trailed by double digits in the first quarter, only to storm back before losing 56-54. Barreiro and the Fillies said playing a complete four quarters is another January directive.

Out of Barrington’s seven January games, six are in the MSL. Sandwiched between will be much-needed practice time, where the Fillies hope to improve on their deficiencies while building on their many strengths.

“Our chemistry is outstanding and the team is working well together,” Barreiro said. “I’m confident and feel good that the issues we have are things that are fixable and within our control.”

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