The similarities are undeniable.
One year ago, a winter storm provided the backdrop when New Trier played in a regional championship on the home floor of its opponent.
All of that was true once again Thursday, Feb. 16, at Glenbrook South. And unfortunately, so was one more thing: a hot-shooting first quarter spelled doom for the Trevians.
GBS — like Maine South in 2022 — rode its big early lead to a regional championship. Led by Sidney Rogers’ 11 points, the Titans scored 22 in the opening quarter to catalyze a 51-39 victory.
“They were just ready to make every shot they took,” New Trier senior Rachael Zacks said. “Sidney Rogers is a great player and a great 3-point shooter. Even though we expected them to make shots, they knocked down every one even when we thought we were closing out (well). So that made it tough on us to start.”
While Thursday’s game was reminiscent of the Trevs’ 2022 regional loss, there was a key difference.
In both games New Trier kept fighting, but on Thursday, the Trevs got to within striking distance — and quickly.
An 8-0 burst by New Trier in the second quarter made it an eight-point game and signaled to the Titans and their home crowd that the Trevians weren’t going anywhere.
“After that start, we did a nice job of hanging in and fighting our way back,” New Trier coach Teri Rodgers said. “I’m really proud of our kids and the effort they put forth.
“We asked them to give it their all and they did. When you do that, it’s going to hurt, and it really hurts.”
Rogers, a senior, drained three 3-pointers in the first quarter on her way to a game-high 22 points. Sophomore Gina Davorija added 6 points to help her team to a 16-point early advantage.
To begin the second, New Trier pivoted to a triangle-and-2 hybrid defense, in which three Trevians were in a triangle-shaped zone and the other two guarded Rogers and Davorija, respectively.
It worked. New Trier outscored Glenbrook South in both the second (11-6) and third (11-10) quarters. But the Titans managed to hold their lead right around 10 points throughout the Trevs’ comeback attempt.
The Titans were on top 38-28 heading into the fourth quarter, when the Trevians felt like a comeback was accessible if they could get hot from the field.
“We knew we could get back in it the whole time and just tried to give everything we had,” Trevs junior KJ Sacarro said. “We tried to keep it going but some of our shots weren’t falling.”
Rogers re-emerged in the fourth quarter, adding 9 points to her total, and the Titans converted 4-of-5 free-throw attempts to help ice the regional victory.
As she has all season, Zacks — one of just three seniors in the Trevs’ regular rotation — led the way for New Trier with 18 points and a pair of steals.
Zacks, an All-Conference selection, was key to New Trier’s turnaround season, as the Trevs went from 12-15 in 2021-’22 to 19-14 despite standout junior Sela Klein playing in just a handful of games.
“She gave it everything she had and not just on the court,” Rodgers said of Zacks. “She works her tail off. Always looks to get better. I told (the rest of the team) if you every want to do something well in life, just watch Rachael. The more you put in the more it hurts when you lose, and she hurts.
Zacks is moving on to play basketball and study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and will carry with her plenty of memories of New Trier basketball.
“I loved every second of it,” she said. “I feel like I’m so close with everyone on the team. We call it a family and I really enjoyed growing as a basketball player and every year meeting a whole new group of girls who are so outgoing, nice and friendly and just the best.”
Loyola, Regina claim regional championships; NSCD falls to Ida Crown
Loyola Academy used a fourth-quarter surge to best Evanston 43-30 in a regional championship Thursday, Feb. 16, at Loyola in Wilmette.
Ramblers junior Paige Engels scored a game-high 22 points to go with 12 rebounds to key her team’s sixth straight regional crown.
Loyola moves on to play the winner of York and Glenbrook North on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at New Trier’s Northfield campus.
Regina Dominican picked up its second regional title in as many years.
The Panthers bested Chicago Math and Science Academy 53-23 behind a well-rounded effort in which nine players scored Thursday in Wilmette.
Natalia Cerrado, Jillian DeFranza and Maddie Witcher led Regina with 9 points apiece. DeFranza and Kendall Williams had 5 steals apiece, while and Payton Olszewski added 4. Williams also had 10 rebounds and 2 blocks.
Regina will take on Clark in a sectional semifinal at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, at DePaul College Prep in Chicago.
North Shore Country Day (17-9) fell short against Ida Crown Thursday, losing 48-41 at Lycee Francais de Chicago.