Fricke secures 300th win as basketball team shoots for postseason run

Last month, boys’ basketball head coach Scott Fricke won his 300th career game. Now, the team is aiming for a deep run in the state tournament.



The boys basketball team poses for a picture to celebrate Fricke’s 300th win following victory over Maine South on Jan. 13

Fricke, who is in his 15th season as head coach, accomplished this feat on Jan. 13 when the Trevians beat Maine South.

“We didn’t know if he knew,” said senior guard Evan Kanellos. “It was a pretty close game in the first half, so it was kind of like, ‘are we going to get this today?’”

In the end, New Trier ran away with the game, winning 55-25. The players then had an opportunity to celebrate with their coach, surprising him in the locker room.

“We were all excited about it,” Kanellos said. “And then when he finally came back we just dumped the water on him and celebrated a little bit.”

We were all excited about it, and then when he finally came back we just dumped the water on him and celebrated a little bit

— Evan Kanellos

Senior Jake Fiegen, a three-year varsity player, said it was a special moment for the team.

“It was pretty cool to be there and be a part of him reaching that.”

Fricke, who grew up in the western suburbs, had a lot of family at the game to share that moment with him.

He credited the achievement to the dedication of his players. Over the past two seasons, the Trevians have racked up a record of 57-8, a winning percentage of nearly 88%.

“I’m just blown away by the improvement of our kids from last year to this year,” he said. “We lost seven of our key guys from last year’s team, seven seniors.”

“We’re definitely less experienced this year, but we’ve had the pleasure of playing the whole season together so we’ve kind of built that chemistry,” Fiegen added.

Fiegen was also complimentary of Fricke’s coaching.

“He has a very good understanding of the game and knowing what to run in certain situations, what defenses to play,” Fiegen said.

Rick Malnati, who was previously head coach for 12 years, spoke highly of Fricke as well.

“I’ve known Scott since he first came to New Trier,” said Malnati. “I’ve seen him grow up in basketball, and he’s always had a great basketball mind.”

Malnati returned as an assistant this year, coaching alongside coaches David Brenner and Matt McCaffery. He described the process of rejoining the coaching staff this season, which started with the coaches asking him to help out during practice. 

“I’ve known [the coaches] forever. They had asked me to come check out something in practice,” he explained. “So I said, yeah I’d love to help out.”

Under Fricke, the Trevians have had 14 straight winning seasons, including six regional championships. However, the last time they won the sectional title was 2013, a year that stands out for Fricke.

That year, New Trier narrowly lost to Simeon in the super sectional, a team that included future-NBA players Jabari Parker and Kendrick Nunn.

“I think they won the state tournament like three years in a row going into that and hadn’t lost in a long time,” Fricke said. “We were down two with a couple minutes to go, and that team really started playing well at the end of the year.”

A decade later, the team is looking to make it down state with a sectional win.

“This year’s team is very unselfish,” said Malnati, comparing it to previous teams he’s coached. “They shoot it at a really high level, they guard at a really high level, and they don’t do a lot of things to beat themselves.”

Fiegen, the lone returning starter from last year, has helped lead the team. He’s averaging 20 points a game and recently scored his 1,000th career point.

Additionally, younger players such as Ian Brown, Colby Smith, and Logan Feller have had a significant impact. 

“They’ve come such a long way, and we wouldn’t be where we were without all three of them,” said Kanellos.

Since Fricke’s milestone, the team has been on a roll, going 13-1 and clinching the regional championship over Niles North last Friday. They are set to play Glenbrook South on Tuesday and, if victorious, will host the sectional final on Friday.

Although he knows it won’t be easy, Fricke hopes the team can elevate to the next level.

“There’s a lot of good teams that can win on a given day,” he said. “But this team is built to go far.”