Austin Madrzyk noted one difference between his role last year and this year as a member of the Barrington boys basketball team.
"Last year, I was big,'' Madrzyk said. "And this year, I'm not."
Did Madrzyk do some shrinking during the off-season?
No, he's still pushing 6-foot-1. It's just that the junior class has arrived at Barrington and made its presence known.
Now the Broncos have five players who stand 6-5, and one sophomore in Rapolas Ivanauskas who's 6-8.
On Wednesday, two winless clubs nursing losses in the early season met in the third round of the Mundelein tournament.
Madrzyk opened the festivities for Barrington with a 3-pointer, and the Broncos never looked back in posting a 56-51 win over Lakes.
"We have a lot of skill and a lot of potential,'' Madrzyk said. "We still had a lot of young guys so we will have some growing pains."
On a tough turnaround shot from Chris Lester (one of those 6-5 guys), the Broncos threatened to blow the Eagles out of the gym as Barrington's late third-quarter lead was 41-25.
The Eagles (0-3) didn't give up. Led by the inspired play of junior Tramone Hudson, Lakes cut into the Barrington lead and pulled within 6 points on a few occasions in the fourth quarter.
"He shows some flashes,'' said Lakes coach Chris Snyder of Hudson. "But it took us too long to respond."
It was all Barrington early. Another one of those 6-5 players, Calvin Goldsmith, got the crowd and his team excited with an early dunk. A bank shot from 6-5 senior Zach Bart closed the first quarter with Barrington up 15-8.
"We had some moments when the kids were bring aggressive,'' said Barrington coach Bryan Tucker. "But we didn't protect the lead when they came back at us."
With Madrzyk (18 points) and teammate Bart dominating the play inside, the Broncos still held on to a 27-18 lead at halftime. It certainly didn't look good for the Eagles heading into the fourth quarter. They trailed 44-29.
"It's been consistency with us,'' Snyder said. "We can't sustain runs. It's the small things now. But this is a good learning experience. This group wants to be successful."
Ethan Sage's rebound bucket opened the fourth quarter for Lakes. Hudson (16 points) drilled a 3-pointer and the Eagles seemed poised for a comeback.
Benett Haviland joined the 3-point parade and the Eagles cut the Barrington lead to 48-42 with three minutes to play.
Both teams are in action on Friday. Lakes will battle Warren at 4:30 p.m., while Barrington will take on the Mustangs following that game at 6 p.m.
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