Only a few months removed from losing an eight-player senior class, New Trier girls basketball is moving toward a new identity on the hardwood.
With a new offensive look, featuring more perimeter-oriented offense, the Trevians have been working through the summer months relying more on outside shooting and attacking closeouts with a collection of younger of guards.
That was on full display at Stevenson High School’s summer league in Lincolnshire. The Trevians also had the chance to work on it while attending Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville’s camp.
“A lot of cutting, because we have a lot of guards,” said Kate Sacarro, a rising junior guard. “So we’re all pretty fast and we can all shoot so we like to be constantly be moving, screening away, backdoor cutting and I think it’s really working for this group,”
This past season, New Trier had limited outside shooting, relying on the post presence of Abby Ryan and penetration of Casey Scharoff en route to a 12-15 record and 3-7 conference slate.
Longtime coach Teri Rodgers is implementing this new look in order to allow the Trevians to be more creative on the offensive end.
“The new offense allows us to do multiple things depending on the players on the court as well as how the defense is playing,” Rodgers said. “ It allows us to be less one-dimensional. In particular we hope to attack off the dribble more than we have in the past.”
Plenty capable as a ball-handler, Sacarro was New Trier’s go-to three-point shooter at the recently completed Stevenson Summer League.
She canned trey after trey throughout the session.
“Even when I miss a couple, everyone is like ‘keep shooting you got this,’ and it really helps my confidence,” Saccaro said. “There’s not really any pressure, we’re all just playing together, playing to our strengths.”
Rodgers noted that Saccaro’s confidence and leadership have grown a great deal since the end of the season, and she has grown her game on the offensive, both shooting and attacking the basket.
Development in both facets will need to continue to aid the Trevs’ a perimeter-focused offense.
“She sees the floor well and has been better at keeping her dribble alive until she has a pass or shot,” Rodgers said. “We look forward to Kate pushing us in transition, scoring when the opportunity presents itself and getting the ball into the hands of open players.”
Rising senior Rachael Zacks has been steadily getting on the radar of college coaches as well, playing for the same Full Package AAU program as Saccaro.
In her junior season, Zacks contributed in multiple ways thanks to her well-rounded game.
“She is someone who can score in multiple ways — either from the outside or attacking the basket,” Rodgers said. “She is a crafty and intelligent player so she knows the game well. She will be someone who can get a basket when we need or help create advantages for her teammates. She is an outstanding leader who prioritizes helping the team be its best.”
Tyler Van Gorp stands high above the other New Trier boys basketball players.
While that was also the case this past season, it’s more obvious after the departure of 6-foot-8, Dartmouth-bound Jackson Munro.
A lanky, 6-10 rising senior, Van Gorp knows his role on the team has grown a great deal.
“I’m the tallest guy on the team by a good amount so, I would say use my length to score inside and help (lead) the team offensively and defensively,” he said.
Van Gorp is plenty comfortable running the floor and he finished through traffic several times in transition at the Ridgewood Live Event at Ridgewood High School on June 20 in Norridge. He scored 10 points in a 48-44 loss to state power St. Rita and 12 in a 73-48 win over St. Charles North.
Van Gorp scores in support of rising senior standout Jack Fiegen, regarded as a top shooter in the state and who was New Trier’s undisputed go-to in recent competition at Ridegwood and Riverside Brookfield.
Fiegen recently received his first Division I hoops offers from the Naval Academy (June 20) and Cal Poly (California Polytechnic State University, June 27).
New Trier is coming off an unprecedented season in which it collected 30 victories and was consistently ranked among the state’s best teams.
Along with Munro, the Trevians’ rotation featured five other seniors: point guard Peter Kanellos, off-guard Josh Kirkpatrick, wings Noah Shannon and Karlo Colak, and reserve big Finn Cohan.
Fiegen and Van Gorp will lead a new-look Trevs squad that will have to fill other roles.
During summer play, the Trevians also saw plenty of strong play from rising junior guard Logan Feller, as well as guard Jun Yoshitani and wing Ethan Cummings.