New Trier basketball coaches aren’t quite sure the last time the Trevians won an outright conference championship.
They can stop wondering after Friday night.
With a wire-to-wire, 50-33 victory over state power Glenbrook North (24-3, 7-3), the Trevians (25-4, 9-1) finished the league season alone atop the Central Suburban League South standings.
New Trier coach Scott Fricke said victories in the CSL South, which contains two other 20-win teams (Evanston, Glenbrook South), should not be taken for granted and a league title is special.
“To go 9-1, with four ranked teams in the conference, that’s the true test,” Fricke said.
The Trevians have finished atop the league standings the times in the past five years; however all three times they weren’t alone and were co-champs.
This season, the Spartans topped the Trevians, 54-44, in Northbrook three weeks ago to gain control of the CSL South. Since then, both teams stacked their resumes.
New Trier picked up big wins at Evanston, and against Glenbrook South and DePaul College Prep. Glenbrook North also downed Glenbrook South, as well as highly touted Rolling Meadows; however, in the Feb. 7 victory over the Mustangs, the Spartans lost star guard Josh Fridman to a knee injury.
GBN also lost to Evanston for a second league loss, setting up Friday’s pivotal matchup.
After tipoff, the Trevs and Spartans went scoreless for the first three-plus minutes until New Trier’s Jake Fiegen converted a driving layup.
While there was a tie, 6-6, New Trier never lost the lead the rest of the way.
“We were just fired up from the last loss,” Trevs sophomore guard Colby Smith said. “In practice we’ve been going hard all week. We just wanted to win. We didn’t want a tie (for the conference title).”
Fiegen hit two threes in the first half and led all scorers with 10 points to give New Trier a 19-16 lead.
In the third quarter, the Trevians’ defense kept at it, holding the Spartans to just three field goals while grabbing four steals, including three from Fiegen.
Senior point guard Evan Kanellos also stood out in the quarter with 4 points, 3 assists and a steal.
“He’s the heart and soul of the team,” Fricke said. “He runs everything. He knows who to get shots for, when to get to the rim, when to knock down a three, when to set a screen. We put a lot on his shoulders and he responds every time.”
Holding an eight-point lead, the Trevs ran away from the Spartans in the final period.
Smith scored 8 of his 11 points in the fourth, which included his second big 3-pointer of the night.
“I just love to shoot every time I can,” Smith said. “If I’m not open I try to make the easy pass, but I was open on those two (threes).”
Fiegen finished with a game-high 15 points and 11 rebounds, adding three steals and a block. Senior big man Tyler Van Gorp chipped in 8 points and 7 rebounds, while Kanellos added 7 points.
Owen Giannoulias led Glenbrook North with 9 points, while Sam Lappin had 8. Ryan Cohen added 4. The Trevians held the Spartans to an abysmal night shooting. They visitors made just two threes.
The teams are the top two seeds — New Trier No. 1 and North No. 2 — in the IHSA Class 4A New Trier Sectional, followed by Rolling Meadows, Glenbrook South, Evanston and Loyola Academy in spots 3-6. New Trier begins postseason play on Feb. 22, but first will take on CSL North champ Niles North on Wednesday, Feb. 15.