King, Barrington down Grayslake North
A state qualifying diver, Barrington junior Anna Mae King dove right in on Saturday night when her basketball teammates needed her.
The Fillies needed someone to end a scoring slump and King happily took the plunge. With Barrington clinging to a 2-point lead over visiting Grayslake North early in the fourth quarter, King scored 14 of her team's next 17 points to key a 58-41 nonconference win over visiting Grayslake North.
"You don't see many basketball players who are also divers," Barrington coach Babbi Barreiro said of King, whose 25 total points are a new career high. "Anna Mae actually misses our first two and a half weeks of practice each year because she's still in diving, but every night after diving practice, she's in the back of the gym by herself working on her game. And she does that because she's probably our hardest working kid and she's hungry. She's always hungry.
"Anna Mae was hungry in the fourth quarter and she's always playing hard and giving 110 percent. She just goes and goes. Everyone else was a little frozen, like 'What do we do, what do we do?' and Anna Mae was still attacking."
King scored 16 of Barrington's 22 fourth-quarter points. She connected on all five of her shot attempts, including a 3-pointer, and made good on 5-of-6 free throws.
The offensive explosion came just in the nick of time. Barrington stormed out to a 16-3 first-quarter lead, was up 13 points at halftime (28-15) but then went cold in the third quarter and into the early fourth quarter and saw its lead cut to 2 points (36-34) about a minute into the fourth.
"I knew that we couldn't keep letting them come back that easily," King said. "I knew we had to work together and pull together and I knew we had to be really aggressive to get ourselves ahead again.
"I think it's always important to give a spark when you can. It gives the team a lot of energy. I think that definitely helped us."
Grayslake North (8-13) opened the third quarter with an 11-0 run to cut Barrington's 13-point halftime lead to 2 points at 28-26. Senior forward Savannah Guenther keyed the Knights' rally with 8 points. She finished with a team-high 23 points. She was the only Grayslake North player to reach double-figures.
"Offensively, we go as Savannah goes and the other girls kind of feed off of her," Grayslake North coach Rob Nicoletti said. "She finds ways to score. She's very skilled. And she showed leadership to get us back in it.
"I'm very proud that in the third quarter we didn't fold. We showed what we are made of. We finally woke up and got some momentum. But when you dig yourself that kind of hole early, by the fourth quarter, you kind of just run out of gas, which is what happened to us."
Barrington junior post player Taylor Thompson kept pounding away on the Knights in the fourth quarter before fouling out with 20 points. She was tough to stop inside but also nailed two 3-pointers.
Thompson and King are the leaders on a team that has no active seniors. Barrington's only senior, star guard and four-year varsity player, Tori Meyer, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first game of the year. Three freshmen and a sophomore also get significant minutes for the young Fillies.
"We are very young and sometimes we lose focus and have problems with unforced turnovers and mistakes, which is what happened tonight and that helped (Grayslake North get back into the game)," said Barreiro, whose team improves to 6-15 on the season. "But even though they are young, they fight and they don't give up and they always play hard.
"I was happy we were able to climb out of that."