Barrington's Barreiro hits 500 milestone
Illinois High School Association Hall of Famer Babbi Barreiro says she feels very lucky to serve as the Barrington girls basketball coach.
"I feel like I have one of the greatest jobs in the world," said the 30-year veteran Barreiro, whose brother Dan of KFAN radio station in Minnesota also happens to be in that state's Broadcasting Hall of Fame. "It's a great job working with these kids. They're so much fun. It's very rewarding."
On Tuesday night at the Jean Walker Field House in Mt. Prospect, Barreiro was rewarded her 500th career win by those kids who held off a furious late charge by host Prospect for a 70-64 triumph in the Mid-Suburban League second-place crossover game.
Barreiro (500-406) became just the fourth MSL coach to hit the magic milestone following Tom Dineen of Buffalo Grove (810), Carol Plodzien of Fremd (568) and Mary Fendley of Hersey (532).
In all, the IHSA record books show only 16 girls basketball coaches have hit 500, topped by Marshall's Dorothy Gaters (1,133).
"Those are big names in girls basketball in Illinois," said Barreiro, Elk Grove High School's 1985 Female Athlete of the Year before studying kinesiology at Indiana with a minor in English. "But you can't get anywhere without the people around you. Those are really the facts. If you don't have assistant coaches, a family and support system, great friends, and great players you can't get there. I'd like to tell you it's all coaching but it's not. We all know that. lf you're a coach, you know the truth."
The truth about the milestone win on Tuesday was that even though the Fillies built a 41-26 lead early in the second half, the outcome hardly came without tension.
"I was never comfortable," Barreiro said.
MSL East co-champion Prospect charged back to tie game at 56 and 58, before the Fillies grabbed the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Sophie Swanson with 2:35 left in the game.
Swanson (33 points, 6 assists), Gwen Adler (16 points, 13 rebounds) and Molly O'Riordan (14 points, 6 assists, 4 blocks) led the Fillies (22-8).
Skylar Splinter led Prospect (22-9) with 17 points followed by Alli Linke (13), Nicole Atteo (12) and Molly Gilhooly (9).
"I'm just really proud of our girls." said Prospect coach Matt Weber. "They never quit and they're going to keep fighting until the whistle blows at the end of the game. That was a fun game. Congrats to Babbi on her 500th win, That's a tough team. We want to play those type of teams at this time of the year. If we can continue to play like we did, it's going to be tough for any team to knock us out of the playoffs."
Skylar Splinter got Prospect to within 61-60 with a bank shot with 2:20 left but the Fillies went on a 9-1 run to put the game away and start the Barreiro celebration.
Barrington athletic director Ryan Rubenstein took the microphone after the game and made the special announcement of 500 wins.
"Babbi has coached hundreds of student-athletes and seen many of them play in college," he told the fans. "The life lessons she has provided each of these young ladies goes far beyond the court and we are forever grateful for everything she has done and will continue to do for Barrington girls basketball, MSL basketball and IHSA basketball."
"Prospect is a good team," Barreiro said. "Matt and Chris Keehn (assistant) are doing great things. We knew it was going to be a tough game. We knew they'd make a run at us. I was really proud of our kids. I felt they held their composure well."
Just like Barreiro has for 30 seasons in charge.
"What a treat to see a lot of coaches from the past, my old high school friends and my family," Barreiro said. "It was just really nice and I'm so proud of my kids. I feel so incredibly lucky to do what I do."
And it's been done 500 times with a win.