Barrington comes up big against Warren
They just don't grow them like that in Barrington.
It's only the junior year for Barrington center Rapolas Ivanauskas, and he already stands 6-foot-9.
"I'm a good eater,'' Ivanauskas said. "And it's in my genes. We are from Lithuania. We are Northern people and we are tall. My dad is 6-6."
In game one of the Mundelein Thanksgiving Tournament, Barrington jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead over Warren. And then the two teams battled to the end. Ivanauskas led his team with 12 points in the 47-43 win over the Blue Devils.
Ivanauskas was pleased with his team's win but knows his own game can still improve.
"I could have done a lot better,'' he said. "I missed a lot of shots. I might have been a little nervous but my teammates helped. This was a good team win."
Barrington won just 12 games a year ago but it appears this team's height will give coach Bryan Tucker's club a good start this season.
"Rapolas is much improved this year,'' Tucker said. "We've been trying to grow his game -- pardon the pun. He had really good focus tonight. And he gave us a big block, which gave us some momentum."
Both teams are rebuilding after saying so long to a big senior class. Warren senior Jovan Jokic has made the transition from being a forward a year ago to point guard this season.
"We still have work on the little things,'' Jokic said. "We still need to show more maturity. This was a tough one."
After the Broncos raced to a quick 5-0 lead, Warren closed the quarter on a 9-4 run. Two 3-pointers from senior Jake Falish helped the Warren cause.
The Blue Devils' lead was 18-14 after a fastbreak hoop from Jovic midway through the second quarter. That's when Barrington answered with a 3-point attack of their own. Mickey O'Donnell opened the trey shooting in the second quarter. Ben Weber had back-to-back 3s to put his team ahead. Chris Lester (10 points) closed the half with another 3-pointer, and Barrington's halftime lead was 6 points at 29-23.
"Both teams fought and scrapped,'' Tucker said. "And you could tell that this was the first night of the season. There were first-night mistakes."
Barrington did not have another 3 the rest of the contest. And the Blue Devils took advantage of that. On a short hook shot from CJ Payawall, Warren reclaimed the lead at 30-29. Again, Barrington took advantage of its height, as 6-foot-6 Lester (10 points) and Ivanauskas had rebound buckets. Barrington rebuilt its lead to 38-31 heading to the final quarter.
"We didn't let it snowball,'' Tucker noted.
On another Lester bucket, the Barrington lead looked safe at 44-35 halfway through the fourth quarter. And then Warren surged back behind the play of promising junior, Maurice Chambers. He led all scorers with 14 points.