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The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

Clutch wins send boys basketball downstate

Trevs headed to Champaign in back-to-back years for first time in program history
New Trier Boys Basketball
Sophomore Chris Kirkpatrick shoots a game-winning three on Friday, Mar. 1 against Glenbrook North

Editor’s Note: Logan Feller is one of the editors-in-chief for the New Trier News and is mentioned in this article. He was not involved in the writing, reporting, or editing of this article.

Heading into the final quarter of last Friday’s IHSA sectional, the New Trier boys basketball team found itself trailing Glenbrook North High School by six points. With their season on the line, the Trevians rallied back, tying the game late in the fourth quarter and forcing a turnover with a successful double team. 

And then the game-winning shot: sophomore Chris Kirkpatrick drained a three as regulation ended, making the Trevs sectional winners and knocking out Glenbrook North 46-43.

“I was just confident in myself the whole time,” Kirkpatrick said.

For head coach Scott Fricke, Kirkpatrick’s shot was the culmination of a well-executed play.

There was a lot of stuff that had to happen right, and it did. And it couldn’t have been at a bigger time.

— Scott Fricke

“It was a great shot,” Fricke said. “But the execution that went into that play—Logan [Feller]’s role in the pass, Colby [Smith] setting the screen, Ian [Brown] setting the screen, [Will LeeMaster] making the pass—there was a lot of stuff that had to happen right, and it did. And it couldn’t have been at a bigger time.”

New Trier originally got the ball back with nine seconds left, but after Glenbrook North used its two remaining fouls, the clock was down to 2.4 seconds. However, there was confusion because the clock hadn’t been stopped immediately after the foul.

“The whole time in the huddle, we’re waiting to see if they’re going to put more time on the clock,” Fricke said, “because we have one play if they do, and we have another if they don’t.”

In the end, the time was not changed, and Fricke decided to run a misdirection play called Celtic that they practice for moments like that one. The play involved two passes and two screens, including one from junior Colby Smith.

“We’ve run that play a million times in practice,” Smith said. “That was the only call to do.”

The play worked just as planned and launched New Trier to Monday’s super-sectional game, in which the team faced Glenbard North High School.

In that game, NT came out firing, nailing 10 three-pointers, shooting 50% from behind the arc, and winning 65-41 in the end.

“I think the thing that I liked the most is that every one of our shots were great shots,” Fricke said. “We didn’t force shots, and we were getting great shots out of our offense.”

Kirkpatrick, who scored a game-high of 22 points on Monday, also said the game was a team effort, both on offense and defense.

“Everyone was just really sharing the ball,” he said. “But honestly, I think our defense won us that game.”

Kirkpatrick and Fricke also mentioned the defensive pressure from Smith and Brown that was able to tire out the other team.

“We felt like we could pressure those guys a little bit, and they were turning the ball over,” Fricke said.

The game took place at the NOW Arena in Hoffman Estates, and the team was able to use the larger court and unfamiliar opponent to their advantage. They took that opportunity to work in more players, like senior Eli Garber, who hit two threes coming off the bench.

“They’re not a team from around here, so executing our sets was easy because they didn’t really know what we were going to do,” Smith said.

Following Monday’s win, the team has their eyes set downstate. New Trier is slated to face Homewood-Flossmoor High School on Friday in Champaign at 3:45 p.m.

Fricke said the team’s preparation has consisted of both watching film to prepare and game planning for Friday’s matchup during practice.

“Right now it’s all about Homewood-Flossmoor,” he said. “We’re going to have to guard very well; these guys are all very athletic.”

Although Homewood-Flossmoor is a one seed going up against the fourth-seeded New Trier, Fricke believes NT plays very well together as a team, which will show in Friday’s game.

“I think we’re going to give them a really good game, and I have confidence that we can pull this off,” he said.

If victorious on Friday, New Trier will play in the state championship Saturday night. If New Trier loses, they will play for third place later Friday evening. Last year, the team came up short in the semi-final game, but won its next game, placing third.

“We know that we’re a talented team offensively, shooting the ball, but we know that we’re at our best when we play together as a defense and as a team,” Kirkpatrick said.

Regardless of what happens tomorrow, Fricke is proud of the strides the team has made in recent weeks, winning seven straight games and punching its ticket to state.

“It’s rare that you get downstate very often in basketball, but two years in a row is just an incredible accomplishment by these kids,” he said.

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