The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

Boys basketball takes 3rd place at state

The Trevs follow up a devastating semifinal loss with their second consecutive 3rd place finish and 30th win of the season
Rob Lange
The New Trier boys basketball team celebrates after beating Palatine and winning third place

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.

Coming into the 2023-24 boys basketball season, there were many unknowns. The team was losing three starters including the program’s all time leading scorer and it looked like a rebuilding year. 

But, the season ended in a win, as the Trevians dismantled Palatine High School in the IHSA 4A third place game by a score of 53-35 to put a bow on a special season, and earn the team’s 30th win, a milestone that many teams look to accomplish as a part of a great season. The win also cemented New Trier as just the 11th Illinois basketball team ever to win 30 games in a season three years in a row.

“We’ve shown the state and the conference that we can compete and play the right way.” senior guard Eli Garber said. Garber was a recipient of the CSL Sportsmanship Award. 

The finish was impressive mainly because of the result just hours before the third place game tipped off. The Trevs fell to Homewood-Flossmoor High School 40-35 in the state semifinals, marking the second consecutive year New Trier has fallen a game short of the state championship game. 

The game was a pitcher’s duel, dictated by defense and missed shots. But, the Trevians hung in there with the 2nd ranked team in Illinois according to the Chicago Sun-Times Super 25 until the final buzzer.

We’ve shown the state and the conference that we can compete and play the right way.

— Eli Garber

The third quarter ended with New Trier’s Logan Feller hitting a baseline jump shot as time expired, to put the Trevs ahead by 3 going into the fourth quarter. It felt as if that would be the shot that got the Trevians ahead for good, shown by head coach Scott Fricke’s large fist pump as the players came back to the bench. 

But Homewood-Flossmoor battled back, hitting big shots down the stretch beginning with guard Bryce Heard’s three pointer from the top of the key to start the fourth quarter. A junior, Heard is a highly touted recruit who spent last year with Montverde Academy in Florida, the #1 high school basketball team in the country. He showed his poise in timely moments throughout the game, following up his three with a contested jumper on the next possession for the Vikings. 

Homewood-Flossmoor’s stars were too much to handle in the end, with senior guard and Columbia recruit Gianni Cobb providing a steal into an and-one layup to go ahead by six points to ice the game. 

The Trevians fought down to the buzzer though, as sophomore forward Danny Houlihan hit 3’s on back-to-back possessions following Cobb’s layup and numerous H-F free throws to keep the game within a possession.

”I’m proud of how we kept battling until the end,” senior forward William Leemaster said, “There isn’t a better group of guys that I would want to go out with.” 

Leemaster was highly important vs. H-F, as he was able to utilize his passing for many open layups for the Trevs, providing a spark to open the second half.  

The Trevians came down the floor with around 20 seconds left to play trailing by 3 points. Sophomore guard Chris Kirkpatrick was forced into a tough off-balance three point attempt, double clutching around two Homewood-Flossmoor defenders, that hit off the front rim and into the hands of the Vikings after a tip drill between both teams. From there, the Trevians fouled forward Caleb Chavers with four seconds remaining, where he knocked both free throws down to go up by 5.

Free throws and defense. That was Homewood-Flossmoor’s calling card that helped them prevail Friday and go on to win the 4A state championship, defeating Normal Community High School 60-48 a day after to win the school’s first ever basketball state championship. 

Don’t let the high-flying dunks and talent fool you, H-F tightened their screws defensively in the second half that ultimately led to low percentage shots for the Trevians in crunch time and allowed the Vikings to bleed clock. While New Trier was still able to take advantage of their back cutting in the third quarter, Homewood-Flossmoor’s length and tenacity disrupted the Trevians over time. 

Overall, it was a highly successful year for the Trevians, their third straight in that category. Using veteran leadership and sparks from underclassmen, the Trevs were able to earn the highest finish in the state playoffs for the program since 1973, when New Trier East High School took second place. 

“I’m proud of our effort, but not proud of the result.” senior forward Ian Brown said. “It hurts more knowing how close we came, but we had a great season.” 

While the illustrious first state championship win for coach Scott Fricke and New Trier still waits, it’s evident that the Trevians will continue to knock on that door, as integral pieces such as Kirkpatrick -4A All State Third Team-, Houlihan, and junior Colby Smith all return for Fricke next season. 

“Once the emotion passes, there are a lot of great things to look back on that we accomplished this year.” Garber said. “I’m proud to be a part of New Trier Basketball.

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

The comment section provides a space for readers to voice their opinions. The New Trier News wants to amplify the voices of our audience, so comments will not be censored based on a difference of opinion. However, we will not accept the following forms of commentary: Racism, homophobia, or any other sort of prejudice Anything against the school policy clearly stated in the New Trier Student Handbook Violent threats or any form of harassment toward our staff and/or sources Any obscene or inappropriate language Anonymous comments will not be approved. The comments will be monitored by managing editors in consultation with our faculty advisers.
All New Trier News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *