Offensive woes all game long lead to the Barrington girls’ basketball team being defeated by LaSalle 41-33 in the open state tournament championship game Sunday afternoon, March 19, in a rematch of the Division I title game, at URI’s Ryan Center.
Before the game even began, Barrington found themselves facing a difficult task as their leading scorer, Glory Ellison, would not play due to personal reasons. Despite shooting woes, the Eagles were only down 27-20 at the half. However, after the intermission, Barrington still couldn’t gain traction on the offensive end that led to LaSalle earning its second state trophy in a row.
“We needed a a little more offensive power and the ball didn’t bounce our way,” Barrington head coach Stephen Lenz said. “I thought defensively though, we put in a great effort and I couldn’t be more proud of the kids. I really wanted this for them because I felt like they deserved it. I’m proud they overcame some adversity today. We could have packed our bags and said ‘we are missing one of our best players’ but we didn’t.”
To start the state championship game, Barrington earned the early lead on a midrange jumper by Elizabeth Hutchings and multiple trips to line by Grace Coutu helped give the Eagles a 7-2 lead that forced LaSalle to call a timeout.
After the break in action, the Rams came storming back with four unanswered points that helped them regain a small 9-7 lead.
Barrington’s Olivia Middleton kept her team in it as the sophomore scored six points in a row on back-to-back three point plays to give the Eagles the lead again, 13-11.
As LaSalle continued to score, so did Barrington that included a made shot by Caroline Adamson off the bench to tie the game at 17-17. The Rams then heated up offensively as Christina Kiser hit two threes that helped LaSalle score eight unanswered with just minutes remaining before the break.
Barrington meanwhile, struggled to shoot the ball from the field as they made just 21.4 percent of their first half shots while LaSalle made 40 percent that played a big role in the Eagles finding themselves in a 27-20 hole at the half.
Back on the court, LaSalle scored immediately on an inbound pass before Andrea Kubas-Meyer hit a big three that shrunk Barrington’s deficit to 29-23.
As the game slowed down, so did the scoring as Coutu earned a trip to the line where she made both before the Eagles called a timeout with LaSalle’s lead still at 31-25.
Despite continued good defense by Barrington, the Eagles struggled to find an open shot as LaSalle’s offense finally got going again as they hit on back-to-back shots that gave the Rams their largest lead of the game with the score set at 36-25.
The two teams struggled to gain any continuous offensive attack as Barrington freshman, Cary Heterick, hit a three-pointer while falling down to bring LaSalle’s lead down to 38-28 with just 2:48 remaining.
One more made shot for the Rams and reality started to set in for Barrington as the Eagles found themselves in a double-digit deficit with just a couple minutes remaining.
While the Eagles continued to play solidly on the defensive end, Barrington only scored eight points over the final 9:59 of play. After a couple more successful inbound plays that sealed the deal for LaSalle, the Rams could celebrate a 41-33 victory.
“It is a tough place to shot and I give LaSalle a lot of credit, they played great defense,” Coach Lenz said. “We just didn’t have enough offensive fire power.”
Not only does this mark the end of the season for Barrington, but also the end of Coutu’s playing time at Barrington.
“She got her 1,000th rebound tonight and I don’t think she knows that,” Coach Lenz said. “She now has 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds which I don’t think we have ever had one of those who played all four seasons. More important, beyond what a great player she is, she is a great person. She is a tremendous role model. She will leave a big hole.”
After a 17-1 record and a D-I title, Barrington still failed to capture the school's first every open state tournament, but Coach Lenz is still proud of what his team accomplished.
“I can’t ask for more, it was a great season,” he said. “One of the best seasons for this high school.”