New Trier captures first regional title in 5 years

Boys Basketball defeats Prospect High 53-35 after close first half


Senior G/F Griffin Ryan goes to the line while NT is up 10 | Pearlman

New Trier Boys Basketball, for the first time in five years, claimed a regional championship on Mar. 5 in the Gates Gym.

The Trevians defeated Prospect High School 53-35, albeit after a tightly contested first half. New Trier went on a run in the third quarter that in essence put the game away, and will move on to Sectionals as a possible favorite.

“Being regional champs feels really good,” said Junior starting power forward Spencer Boehm. “After losing in my freshman and sophomore year, and finally coming back Junior year and winning, it feels great. I know we haven’t done it in five years, and it feels better than ever to do it this year.”

The Trevians were led statistically by star Junior center Ciaran Brayboy. Brayboy led the team with 14 points and 8 rebounds, including an emphatic putback dunk midway through the second quarter that got the already enthused New Trier crowd roaring.

“Our preparation for the game was extremely detailed thanks to the [coaching] staff’s time spent scouting our opponents and we knew exactly how to play them to their weaknesses,” said Brayboy. “One of their big weaknesses is the defensive paint and our coach put great emphasis on getting the ball inside which helped me tremendously.”

Brayboy exploited the weakness inside, using his size and strength (he’s the tallest player on the floor at 6’9”) to gain an advantage and pick up easy points and rebounds.

Boehm (6’8”) also took advantage, with six points and an excellent day on the glass and on the defensive end.

New Trier got excellent contributions from the less monstrous, in terms of size, side of their lineup. Senior Griff Ryan led all scorers with five in the first quarter, including a 3. Fellow senior Andrew Kirkpatrick was perfectly adept as a floor general, and defensive specialist Brian Conaghan was key in stopping Prospect’s top player, David Swedura, from making much of a tangible impact on the outcome of the game.

Ryan and Kirkpatrick, along with Brayboy, received CSL South All-Conference honors for their work in the 2017-2018 regular season.

“We played great defense all night and in the third we started to make the extra pass for easy buckets which really opened up the game for us,” said Conaghan.

New Trier’s rotation went eight deep when the game was not in hand, and their three main reserves, junior guard Sam Silverstein, senior guard Matt Samuelson, and senior guard Matt Mosher did a very good job filling in when the starters needed rest.

“Coming off the bench, I think I just bring the energy,” said Mosher, who made an immediate impact with a three point field goal in the first quarter. “I’ll come in and give the other guys a break for a little and hit the open shot if I have it. I’m not trying to score the most points. Our team as a whole just wants to win.

Midway through the third quarter, things got heated between the two teams, as you would expect from two teams battling it out for a regional championship. There was a bit of an altercation in which players had to be separated from each other and a couple minutes later, Brayboy picked up a technical foul after another monster dunk that added to the Trevians’ run.

“One of the opponents was getting too aggressive with one of my teammates and I stepped in but calmed myself down before it got bad,” said Brayboy.

“It was nothing to worry about, just guys leaving it all on the floor during a regional championship game,” said Conaghan.

Up next for New Trier is a familiar foe, conference rival Niles North. The Trevians face the Vikings from Skokie on Mar 7 at 3:30 pm at Maine East High School. If they win that, they will play this afternoon at the same time and location.

While the Trevians remain motivated to get deeper into the state tournament, a weight has been lifted off their backs with the regional championship. “It basically a tribute to the work we put into this and it’s merely at small hurdle in the road down state,” said Brayboy. “We have to stay hungry for the championship and keep working but it’s a great feeling to cut the nets off at home.”