An indication things got off track on the basketball court is when the postgame talk lasts half as long as the game itself.
Wheaton Academy did some lengthy soul-searching after being held scoreless the last 6 minutes, 23 seconds of its 57-37 loss to New Trier on Monday at the 53rd annual Proviso West Holiday Tournament in Hillside.
"Anytime you hold somebody scoreless in a close game, you've got a good chance to win it," Trevians coach Scott Fricke said.
Leading 37-35 after three quarters, New Trier (5-4) knocked down a 3-pointer out of its patient offense. A minute later Wheaton Academy's 6-foot-8 senior forward Gordon Behr scored in the paint for his team-high 12th point. New Trier, which made 8 of 14 three-point shots, closed the contest on a 17-0 run.
Fouled on a 3-point try, Robbie Abuls made the first 2 free throws and teammate Ricky Samuelson rebounded his third shot and put it back in for a 44-37 lead.
Wheaton Academy coach Pete Froedden called time out. Immediately afterward Abuls stole the ball and was fouled, making both free throws. New Trier's David Hammes stole it again, Samuelson laid it in, Froedden took time.
And so forth.
"We have not been able to figure out when a team hits us, how to respond," Froedden said. "Right now when it gets tough we don't find ways to overcome that, so we have to learn how to handle adversity.
"Until we look it in the face and decide that when somebody knocks us down we're going to get up and get up more determined and more focused and do a better job of executing than ever, then those things are going to happen," he said.
It wasn't a game-long nightmare. Wheaton Academy (8-3) led 13-12 after one quarter on Christian Smith's 3-pointer, an inbounds play that found the open man. The Warriors were right there at halftime, down 24-21. They scored the first 3 baskets of the third quarter on a pair Behr buckets and a Josh Ruggles 3.
"We wanted to come out with a lot of energy in the second half and we did that," Behr said. "We went on a run, took the lead in the second half. We would have wanted to continue that run."
This time it ran the other way. David Hammes' 14 points led New Trier, Abuls added 10 and all five Trevians starters scored at least 8.
Despite the outcome, more likely due to it, Ruggles said the Warriors' postgame meeting was a positive.
"It's just that inner fight that guys have to hold themselves accountable for," the junior guard said. "Every single one of us, from one to 14, we've all got to do it. And we didn't tonight. If we're going to have any chance of being a good team at the end of the year, in March when it matters, we have to take steps for it now."