New Trier tops Glenbrook North in CSL South rematch to win conference title
A brief pregame ceremony in New Trier's grand, old gym saluted senior guard Jake Fiegen for scoring 1,000 points in his high school basketball career.
Fiegen and his teammates then made their own point in a 50-33 victory over Glenbrook North Feb. 10 in Northfield to win the outright title of the Central Suburban League South.
"It means a lot," said the 6-foot-4 Fiegen, also a starter when the Trevians last shared the title with Glenbrook South and Evanston in 2021.
"Before the season I feel like a lot of people kind of wrote us off," he said. "It's a special group of guys and we come to work every day. We've improved so much over the year and it just means a lot to me - and the team, coaches, everyone in the program - to get this conference win."
New Trier (26-4, 9-1) led throughout, earning revenge for a January loss at Glenbrook North (25-4, 7-3). The Trevians and Spartans are the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds at the Class 4A New Trier sectional, the boys basketball playoffs that start Saturday, Feb. 18.
The Spartans on Friday lacked a main ingredient to that earlier win and all their others. Junior point guard Josh Fridman, Glenbrook North's leader in scoring, assists, steals and several other categories, injured a knee in a Feb. 7 win over Rolling Meadows. He'll miss the rest of the season as well as the summer AAU slate, crucial for recruiting purposes.
New Trier coach Scott Fricke took nothing for granted.
"Their point guard went out in the first quarter, and they outplayed Rolling Meadows for three quarters," Fricke said. "They're a really good team and we know they're going to be a good team with or without him. Obviously he's a great player and obviously it hurts them, but they're still a very good team."
It was choppy early, a scoreless game until the Cornell University-bound Fiegen sliced through defenders to score at 4:45 of the first quarter.
Previewing its 26% shooting for the game, Glenbrook North missed its first six shots until Sam Lappin scored on a putback more than a minute later.
"We're a completely different basketball team now, and that's OK. We've got to figure out how to do things differently, how to get better, how to run our stuff a little bit better," Spartans coach Quin Hayes said, alluding to Fridman's loss.
"We've got a great group of guys, I know they're going to continue to work hard, continue to figure this out."
An 8-0 run to close the first quarter - consecutive 3's by Logan Feller and Fiegen and Evan Kanellos' scoring drive - earned a 14-6 Trevians lead.
Literally a huge difference from New Trier's 53-44 loss to Glenbrook North on Jan. 20 was the play of Trevians 6-foot-10 center Tyler Van Gorp. Not a factor the first round, Van Gorp scored 8 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, blocked 3 shots and altered or discouraged many others.
"If we know he's in the paint blocking shots, that allows us to pressure more, take more chances," Fiegen said.
"I think I just played more free," said Van Gorp, who will play at Williams College in Massachusetts. "I think the first game I played super-tight and I was overthinking, so this game I came out and kind of played free. It was obviously a lot better."
Glenbrook North held New Trier scoreless the last four minutes of the second quarter and pulled within 19-16 at halftime on Gavin Schooley's 3-pointer.
After another 0-6 shooting start by the Spartans out of halftime, a 3 by New Trier's Colby Smith gave the Trevians a 10-point lead before a Lappin lay in made the score 32-24 after three quarters.
The fourth quarter started with a flurry, Glenbrook North trapping dribblers to force 3 early turnovers. Lappin stole the ball and scored to get the Spartans within 39-30 with 4:42 left to play.
Lappin stole the ball again, and Glenbrook North had a chance to cut the lead to 7. Instead, Fiegen blocked a shot, Feller rebounded, and Fiegen converted a three-point play to start a decisive 9-0 Trevians run.
With or without Fridman, Glenbrook North's 13-of-50 shooting from the floor - 2-of-23 from 3-point range - wasn't going to get it done.
"That's the story, in the end," Hayes said.
"Last game we had people step up and we had a good game against Rolling Meadows, but today we just couldn't hit shots," said Spartans forward Patrick Schaller. "We played good defense in the first half, but just couldn't pick it back up in the second."
Owen Giannoulias led Glenbrook North with 9 points, followed by Lappin with 8. Smith scored 11 points for New Trier with Fiegen recording game highs of 15 points and 12 rebounds.
"He's unbelievable," Fricke said of Fiegen. "To have a kid who's your best player and your hardest worker and best leader, that stuff makes your team good."