Glenbrook North turns the tables on New Trier in 53-44 win
Pulling even with New Trier in the Central Suburban League South boys basketball standings, Glenbrook North also earned a personal triumph for Ryan Cohen.
"That's the first time in my high school career beating New Trier," the senior guard said after the Spartans' 53-44 victory Jan. 20 in Northbrook.
He said Glenbrook North came up empty when he played on the sophomore squad as a freshman, and then in "six or seven" varsity games since.
Not on Friday. Behind Cohen's 22 points, point guard Josh Fridman's 19 and a team game that included Owen Giannoulias' defense on New Trier ace Jake Fiegen, Glenbrook North turned the tables on the Trevians.
"That's one of the teams that we look to beat every year and we've struggled with in the past," said Cohen, who the next day helped the Spartans earn a decisive win over Yorkville Christian.
"We've kept it close and almost gotten a win, but now I'm just glad we actually did."
Friday's game had the makings of another nail-biter. Although New Trier (18-4, 5-1) committed 11 first-half turnovers the teams battled through three tied scores and five lead changes before Glenbrook North (20-2, 5-1) posted a 22-18 halftime lead.
Spartans coach Quin Hayes had his post player, 6-foot-7 Patrick Schaller, move toward the perimeter on offense to take the Trevians' 6-10 Tyler Van Gorp away from the basket. Or, Hayes went with an all-guard lineup of Cohen, Fridman, Giannoulias, Sam Lappin and Dylan Goldin.
"We wanted to obviously pull their 'big' out of the paint, try to give us some driving lanes and keep our spacing, give us space to attack and drive and then if they step up, to kick to shooters," Hayes said.
New Trier coach Scott Fricke countered by likewise going small, or smaller, with effective 6-5 swingman Ian Brown coming in for Van Gorp most of the game. Brown finished with 7 points, behind Fiegen with 14 and Logan Feller with 12. Feller scored 10 of his points in the first half, Fiegen 10 of his in the fourth quarter.
"We played OK," Fricke said. "I think we were 4-of-19 from 3, you're not going to win on the road in our conference when you're 4-of-19 from 3, and we just had too many turnovers (19). I give (Glenbrook North) a lot of credit, they played really well."
Fricke felt like things were on track when Brown scored inside and Colby Smith hit a 3 from the left baseline to tie the score 28-28 entering the pivotal fourth quarter.
Cohen had scored 11 points in the first quarter but had been quiet thereafter, a single field goal on 4 attempts in the second and third quarters.
"I know my teammates trust me, I trust myself. So just stay patient, I know the game will come to me," he said.
A wise plan. Cohen scored 9 fourth-quarter points to go along with 7 from Fridman, plus all 6 of Schaller's well-timed points and a pair of clutch free throws from Gavin Schooley.
"It starts with Josh and Ryan and the other guys stepped up," Hayes said.
"The free throws were big, to be able to knock those down and be able to separate a little bit really helped us, because last year they knocked down some big threes at the end, they were able to come back. I was happy to see that didn't happen this year."
The fourth-quarter scoring started when Fridman was fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all 3 free throws to start an 8-0 mini-run and 36-28 lead. Fridman added a conventional 3-point play in the run.
"Coach told us at halftime, shots weren't falling, and if we ever got a shot don't hesitate, step into it and shoot it. So that's just what I did," said the junior guard.
Fridman noted his enjoyment of playing in front of the Glenbrook North pep band, which occupied a section of the balcony seating, nearly entirely full on both sides of the court.
New Trier got some Fiegen free throws here and an Evan Kanellos basket there, but Glenbrook North was able to make defensive stops to slowly widen the margin.
Eventually handling Trevian full-court pressure, Schaller capitalized inside for a 53-41 lead with 37 seconds left. Glenbrook North made 6 of 8 fourth-quarter field goal attempts and made 13 of 16 free throws in the last eight minutes.
"We did not play our best basketball," Cohen said, "but when they started pressing and trapping us, it took us a little bit to adjust but once we did we hit free throws and we got the ball into the middle and broke their press. We figured it out throughout the stretch."
"We made shots in the second half, more than we did in the first," Hayes said. "At the end of the day that's really what it kind of comes down to, making shots and defending."