New Trier knocks off Libertyville to earn state berth
Libertyville's special season came to end Monday night.
The Wildcats fell behind New Trier early and could never recover, losing 54-48 at the Class 4A Now Arena supersectional in Hoffman Estates.
"We battled to the end," Libertyville coach Brian Zyrkowski said. "I was proud of our effort."
New Trier (32-4) will be making its first trip to the state finals since 2004.
The Trevians will play Benet in the Class 4A semifinals at 2:30 p.m. Friday in Champaign. Benet beat Rockford Auburn 67-33 at the Northern Illinois University supersectional in DeKalb.
"It was a great win for us," New Trier coach Scott Fricke said. "It is exciting. They did a great job guarding us tonight."
Libertyville (29-6) came into the game winners of their last eight games and 13 of their last 14 games. The Wildcats had advanced to the supersectionals for the first time 1994.
The game got a late start due to the 3A supersectional game which was played prior that went into double overtime.
The late start then turned into a slow start for Libertyville. The Wildcats converted just three of their first 16 shots.
"It took us too long to get comfortable out there," Zyrkowski said. "We needed to come out with more energy."
New Trier wasn't bothered as much.
Leading 8-7 late in the first quarter, the Trevians started hitting from long range. Logan Feller knocked down a three-pointer and Ian Brown followed with two more.
New Trier added a basket from Jake Fiegen to end an 11-0 run. The Trevians, who made seven of their first 14 shots, built a 19-7 lead with 6:53 left in the first half.
Libertyville was able to get the lead down to 21-14 on a three-pointer by Jack Huber. But the Trevians continued their defensive pressure and were able to lead 27-16 at the half.
Libertyville then began to find its mark thanks to some defensive pressure of their own,
Trailing 33-22 midway through the third quarter, the Wildcats ran off seven unanswered points. They closed to 33-29 on a steal and driving layup by Will Buchert with 27 seconds left in the period.
But that was as close as they Wildcats would get. Brown then canned his fourth triple of the game at the end of the third quarter. The Trevians added a quick basket to begin the fourth quarter.
Libertyville tried to foul down the stretch and got it down to six, but just ran out time.
"We just fell short," said Buchert, who finished with 15 points. "We left everything out there. I love these guys and the effort we have had all season."
Libertyville ends their season breaking the school record with 29 wins. They were North Suburban Conference champions and won the Wheeling Hardwood Classic.
"It was a historic year for us," Zyrkowski said. "It was just an incredible run. I am so proud of this team and especially the seniors. The most difficult thing is that we don't have practice tomorrow."
Cole Bonder had 13 points and seven rebounds for the Wildcats. Huber and Aidyn Boone each had eight points.
New Trier was led Brown, who had 15 points, and Fiegen with 15 points and 10 rebounds while Tyler Van Gorp added 11 points and five blocks.