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1/12/13--Barrington's Bryana Hopkins takes a shot during Saturday's game at Palatine. | Jeff Krage~for Sun-Times Media
In three years, Barrington freshmen Megan Talbot and Bryana Hopkins will probably be a couple inches taller. They’ll probably have won quite a few basketball games, lost a bunch as well, and the battle scars will linger still. But no matter what happens from now until then, Talbot and Hopkins will probably leave high school the exact same way they came into it: together.
“We’ve known each other since sixth grade,” Talbot said. “We’ve been inseparable.”
Despite being young and untested, the best friends have already made a mark for the Fillies. Both 6-foot-1, the long, agile forwards have been imposing forces on both sides of the ball and have stood side-by-side through many of Barrington’s key moments this season.
“I think we have great chemistry on the court,” Hopkins said. “We’ve known each other so long and are such good friends we just know where we’re going to be out there.”
Being a freshman in high school is a daunting experience, not to mention being a freshman trying to find her way in the bright lights of varsity basketball. But once again, Talbot and Hopkins have been able to handle the challenge with uncommon grace.
“At the beginning, there were definitely some nerves,” Talbot said. “Just wondering how people would look at you and if they would pass you the ball. But after a couple games, we kind of got the feel for it, and it started to feel like just another game.”
When you throw in guard Kelly Katis, Barrington finds itself in the uncommon position of relying on three freshmen for significant playing time. On some teams, such a situation could create a rift between the new blood and the elder statesmen, but the Fillies have blended together almost seamlessly.
“They’re all one team,” coach Babbi Barreiro said. “I think everyone realizes they’re freshmen, but it’s a situation where they’re contributing every bit as much. There are five players on the court, and whoever is in, we’ve got to go with them.”
The ability to transition from grade school stars to varsity contributors so easily is a testament to the personalities of Talbot and Hopkins, who are both courteous, soft-spoken and eager to please.
“She’s really quiet around people,” Talbot said of Hopkins. “But if you get her alone, like with only her family and my family, she’s a little different.”
Different — what a perfect word to describe the duo. Everything about two freshmen becoming vital cogs on a varsity team is different. But in three years’ time, everyone will probably be accustomed to the dominance of Talbot and Hopkins.
“I’m still focused on this year and haven’t really thought about the future too much,” Hopkins said. “But hopefully one year we can make it really far in the playoffs, and win conference more than once.”