As Barrington middle hitter Tommy Leonard carried the Broncos' third-place state trophy out of the Hoffman Estates gym Saturday, a jokester yelled out, "Hey -- don't drop it."
The senior smiled as if that were the last thing that could possibly happen.
Leonard and his teammates can hold tight to their season, which ended with a flourish Saturday as the Broncos defeated Minooka 25-18, 20-25, 25-18 in the consolation match of the boys volleyball state tournament.
The Broncos shook off the effects of a two-game semifinal loss to eventual champion Wheaton Warrenville South earlier in the day to take third and bring some hardware back to the Northwest suburbs.
"The guys were upset about losing (to WW South)," said Barrington coach Rob Ridenour, "so I told them they could be upset for about an hour or two, and that was it.
"They had to come back focused for the match against Minooka and they did that."
Leonard, with 13 kills, and teammate Jeff Hochstein (13 kills, 9 digs) led the way for the most successful Broncos season since 2005, when Barrington finished second in state.
"I think Jeff was the most important piece of the puzzle for us getting as far as we did this year," said Ridenour. "He had a great sectional where he carried us -- and what can you say about Tommy?
"This match was just Tommy being Tommy -- he had a .684 kill percentage, which is just tremendous."
Another senior, libero Austin Czarnecki, reflected on the Broncos' magical roller-coaster ride this season.
"This is an amazing feeling," said Czarnecki. "It's almost like a dream. Eveything that happened went the way we wanted it to happen. Even though we lost to Wheaton, we played solid volleyball.
"To end our season with a win and be able to bring a trophy back to our high school is unbelievable."
Barrington came out on fire in game one and opened up a quick 9-2 lead, and setter Taylor Ganzer said the Broncos had no trouble getting ready to play Minooka despite the difficult defeat just hours earlier.
"We came in and played together," said Ganzer. "We were motivated to get the win."
"The guys went out on the court in a great frame of mind," added Ridenour. "They played quite a match."
After Barrlington won the first set, the Indians rallied to tie the match, but the Broncos fired on all cylinders in game three and Hochstein put down the final ball for the win.
Junior opposite Charlie Spry pitched in with 6 kills, classmate Peter Van Fossan swatted 4, while seniors John Bach, Charlie Kingwill, and Ryan Sarkar each recorded a service ace.
"We were a little mad after losing (to WW South)," said Leonard, "but to the credit of my teammates, they didn't let that affect them in this match. It was a huge win for us.
"Only two teams can say they ended their seasons with a win and that's something we can be proud of."