The Schaumburg Saxons took home the boys basketball program's 13th regional title defeating New Trier 49-46 Friday night at Evanston Township High School.
In doing so, the Saxons (17-11) advance to the New Trier sectional semifinals, where they'll meet Niles West and former Schaumburg coach Bob Williams, a 1-point winner over Maine South.
The Saxons have won back-to-back regional crowns for the first time since 1999-2000.
To beat the Trevians (15-12), the Saxons showed savvy guard play by Javon McDonald and sophomore Kyle Bolger. And though Kurt Kempema did not score, he kept New Trier standout forward Connor Boehm under wraps.
"We came into this regional wanting to cut the nets down," said McDonald, who led Schaumburg with 15 points. "We're playing some of our best ball now. What we needed to do was to penetrate their zone, and in the third quarter we did that. I cannot say enough about Kempema's defense on Boehm. What he did was big."
All the Saxons played big against New Trier.
"We have depth and we believe in our team," said Schaumburg coach Matt Walsh. "This whole week has been a culmination of team work."
The Trevians seemed to have matters well in hand when they opened up a 16-11 lead with 2:29 left in the first half following Eric West's 3-pointer.
Sophomore center Jimmy Lundquist (11 points, 4 rebounds) led a Saxon 9-2 run that ended with Schaumburg leading 20-18 at the half. Lundquist's 2 free throws with nine seconds left in the half gave Schaumburg the lead for good.
"That was a big run by them," said New Trier coach Scott Fricke. "I felt that was the turning point. They have really good guards and McDonald handled the ball well the way they needed him to."
The third quarter was decisive for the Saxons as they began to penetrate the middle of the New Trier defense, which had not yielded much in the first half.
"In the first half we were a little frustrated with their zone," said Walsh. "I thought we were more aggressive in the third quarter and began taking the ball to the hole. That helped us extend the lead."
McDonald started with a 3-point play, but David Bragiel (11 points) countered with a 3.
Lundquist started a 10-0 run with a basket. Then came 6 Saxons free throws before Bolger (14 points) finished the run with a halfcourt drive to the basket to score in building a 33-21 lead.
Leading 37-27 going to the fourth quarter, Bragiel and Boehm went to work. Boehm had been held to just 4 points in the first three quarters by Kempema.
"I just tried to front him as best I could and get help from the weak side," said Kempema. "I think we did a real good job controlling him for as long as we did."
Boehm (12 points, 12 rebounds), who scored 8 points in the fourth quarter, started getting free late and Bragiel was hitting from the outside.
Free throws kept Schaumburg ahead as they made 12 of 15 in the fourth quarter and 23 of 27 for the game.
Austin Angel (8 points) scored from underneath to make the score 46-44 with :28 left. McDonald hit 1 of 2 free throws for a 47-44 lead with :17 left. Angel scored again with six seconds left on a assist from Jordon Thomas before Bolger calmly sank 2 free throws with :05 left.
A 3-point shot by the Trevians' Jordan Williams hit the side of the backboard as time expired.
"Playing with the lead in a regional final is a tough thing," said Walsh. "I was confident in the team's ability to hit the free throws down the stretch."