As the sports adage goes, you take what the defense gives you. New Trier was happy to oblige Wednesday night.
Facing a soft perimeter defense, senior Noah Shannon and the Trevians took and took and took from Rolling Meadows en route to a 72-40 trouncing Wednesday, March 2, in a semifinal of the IHSA Class 4A Glenbrook South Sectional.
“Part of that is that’s what they were giving up,” coach Scott Fricke said of his team’s offensive success. “They decided to play a way that they were going to leave a couple guys open and take away other guys, and I don’t think you can do that to us. You do that to us and that’s what happens.”
What happened in the first half was Shannon, whose offensive barrage in the first quarter set the tone for the remainder of the contest.
Shannon got going with two lay-ins in transition, and then he drained three consecutive three-pointers that gave New Trier a 17-10 lead. In the second quarter, he took advantage of an overcompensating Mustangs defense and scored four buckets in the paint — and another three-pointer.
All in all, that makes 24 first-half points to put his team in front 40-23 at the break.
“After I took the first shot, (when) they kind of left me wide open, I started feeling it then,” Shannon said. “I felt kind of disrespected that they were camping in the lane and leaving me wide open, so I knew I had to make a couple shots.”
Rolling Meadows was sagging its defense to clog the paint in an attempt to discourage New Trier’s 6-foot-9 big man Jackson Murno. The Mustangs also played tight coverage on the Trevs — and maybe the area’s — top shooter Jake Fiegen. The strategy gave plenty of space to Trevians like Shannon, Josh Kirkpatrick and Karlo Colak.
On the night, Kirkpatrick buried three threes en route to 13 points, while Colak added 8 points.
The open floor space also allowed Munro to find his roaming teammates. The big man tallied 8 assists to go with 13 points.
“He’s a great passer,” Fricke said. “He’s one of the best passing big men in the state by far.”
And while New Trier’s offense was on point, its defense may have been better.
The Trevians quickness and flexibility caused fits for Mustangs stars Cam Christie and Orlando Thomas. Christine, who averages 22 points per game, scored just 9 and was forced into a number of difficult jump shots. Thomas finished with 8 points.
“We shot great … but the key to our game was our defense,” Fricke said. “I thought we were so solid on defense. … I think they had 13 offensive rebounds last time (we played). I thought we did a great job defensively and a great job on the boards.”
New Trier extended its lead each quarter. Colak hit a back-breaking three-pointer to end the third quarter to give his team a 55-34 lead.
Kirkpatrick got 5 quick points in the fourth, and a backdoor pass from Munro led to a crowd-pleasing dunk by Fiegen to push the Trevians’ lead to 30 and lead to the insertion of both teams’ reserves.
The victory pushes New Trier to the sectional championship on Friday, March 5, at Glenbrook South, where they will meet the host Titans for the third time this season.
On Friday, Shannon said the Trevians defense is key once again.
“We’re going to really have to work hard to shut down Cooper (Noard) and Nick (Martinelli),” he said. “We’ve been playing against those guys since fifth grade and they are really good basketball players. You can guard them all you want, but we’re going to have to do something different because they can beat basically anyone one on one.”