Barrington veteran girls basketball coach Babbi Barreiro said her team's offense was "off" for a good part of its game Saturday against Buffalo Grove.
But when it counted, the Fillies' free throw shooting was on.
They made 7 of 9 in the final 44 seconds to secure a 49-45 triumph in the third-round game of the Bison Classic.
With the game tied at 43 and under a minute left, freshman Bryana Hopkins and senior Alexa Resch each hit 2 free throws in a span of 15 seconds to give the Fillies a 47-43 lead.
After senior Mary Zawlocki made 2 free throws to get BG to within 2 points 12.3 seconds left, the Fillies missed 2 free throws with 8.9 seconds left.
But an alert Hopkins made a key steal in the finals seconds.
Hopkins got the ball to junior Aoife Callanan, who was fouled.
The 5-foot-9 junior guard made 2 free throws with 2.1 seconds left to seal the Fillies' third straight win in the tourney and fourth in five games this season.
"It was staying focused and trying your best," Callanan said of her final 2 free throws which made her 8-of-9 for the game. "As a team, we had to stay focused and know the situation. When everything else fails, we just had to keep our hands up and keep playing defense."
Hopkins' defensive play proved clutch.
"Bryana showed her guts going after that loose ball at the end," Barreiro said of the 6-1 forward. "That made a big difference in the outcome."
While the Fillies were hitting their free throws, BG struggled, missing five in a row midway through the final quarter.
"Since day one, we've been telling the girls it comes down to defense, rebounding and making free throws," said first-year Bison coach Steve Kolodziej. "And we did only two of the three. We didn't make the free throws and that was the difference in the game."
Resch (12 points, 6 of 6 free throws, 10 rebounds), Callanan (11 points, 2 steals), Angie Kirchoff (9 points), Hopkins (8 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals) and Brooke Gunderson (7 points, 2 steals) led a balanced attack for the Fillies (4-1).
"I thought Bailee McDonald (sophomore forward) gave us some good minutes off the bench," Barreiro said. "Aoife is very steady. I like the job she is doing.
"I thought we got better guard play in the second half and we did a better job pounding the ball inside."
Zawlocki, coming off an all-area volleyball season, did a good job inside and outside for the Bison (2-2).
Her first of two 3-pointers gave BG a 36-32 lead in the final quarter. Her second 3-pointer tied the game at 41. Zawlocki also had some big boards, finishing with a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds.
"Mary stepped up and played great," Kolodziej said. "The thing about Mary is that the only thing limiting her is herself. She is a great basketball player who needs to continue playing with confidence."
BG sophomore guard Julie Jambrone scored a game-high 13 points with 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Carly Cheever chipped in 6 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists. Teammate Kimberly Herzog added 5 points with a 3-pointer while Alyssa Mills grabbed 6 rebounds.
A 3-pointer by Courtney Meyer helped put BG ahead 10-6, the biggest lead by either team in the first half.
Freshman Megan Talbot scored Barrington's first basket of the game and also grabbed 6 rebounds.
"I thought Megan had big first half," Barreiro added. "It's still early in the season and we are trying to get the kinks out, but we are getting there."
Bailey North, BG's all-area center, missed her third straight game with an ankle injury. Kolodziej hopes the 6-foot forward can return by next Friday.
"Steve is doing a nice job," Barreiro said. "They (BG) are coming along and they play hard from start to finish."
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