New Trier sophomore Danny Houlihan wants to be there for his teammates — or there or over there.
Wherever a teammate, like senior Logan Feller or Ian Brown, is looking for someone, that’s where Houlihan tries to be.
“I get open shots because of my teammates,” Houlihan said. “If Logan or Ian drive, I’ll be there, drifting to the corner. … If it’s open, I’m shooting.”
Houlihan’s comrades fed him plenty on Monday, Jan. 15, when he saw increased minutes following an injury to starting guard Colby Smith. The sophomore’s 13-point performance, which included a late three-point dagger, came up big in a 59-49 win against city power Kenwood Academy in the Lou Malnati’s Deep Dish MLK Classic on Monday, Jan. 15, in Winnetka.
Houlihan has been a contributor for the Trevians all season, and his reputation as a marksman has grown, especially after a 15-three, All-Tournament effort in the four-game Pontiac Holiday Tournament.
On Monday, Houlihan drained three of the Trevians’ 13 triples in the victory. Fellow sophomore Chris Kirkpatrick hit four of them and scored a game-high 21 points, while Downtown Ian Brown had five threes and finished with 16 points. Feller scored nine points to go with a pair of steals.
Houlihan gave a shoutout to Feller for getting him, and his teammates, open shots in transition. New Trier coach Scott Fricke said guys like Houlihan, Kirkpatrick and Brown “ought to take (Feller) out to dinner.”
“He’s the most underrated guy,” Fricke said of Feller. “That kid is unbelievable. He does everything for us. He is a great shooter who knows his role. He’s surrounded by four great shooters and he’ll give up his open three to the benefit of others.”
Monday’s unique matchup was part of a two-game, city-versus-suburb shootout. In the morning game, Mount Carmel knocked off Glenbrook North, 67-58.
To start the finale, Kirkpatrick got things going by scoring the first six points.
Kenwood fought back, and the teams traded baskets to a 12-12 tie after one quarter.
Feller helped New Trier grab an advantage in the second quarter. With the Trevians perimeter shots not falling, Feller took the action to the paint, scoring three buckets to key an 11-0 Trevians’ run.
Brown got his first shot to fall to help the Trevians to a 26-18 halftime lead.
The Trevians found another gear in the third quarter, highlighted by three straight three-pointers (Brown, Houlihan, Kirkpatrick). Brown sank three threes in the quarter, and New Trier had a 14-point advantage.
The pesky Broncos hung around, but a late three from Brown and five late points from Houlihan slammed the door shut.
The Trevians’ shooting prowess is no secret, but Fricke said the team’s more important asset, unselfish basketball, was on display Monday.
“We’re talking a lot about getting assists and making others better. That’s the key to our team,” he said. “If we can give up good shot for a great shot for a teammate — anyone on the floor can make threes — we’re going to be in good shape. We have been talking a lot about that.”
The Trevians improved to 16-3 on the season and have rebounded from a tough defeat at the hands of league foe GBN on Jan. 5 with back-to-back victories.
Recent winter storms, which have forced the closure of many schools over the past week, has forced teams across Chicagoland to take a few days off the court. Fricke thinks it did his team some good during the dog days of the season.
“You kind of have to survive this. I think it was really good for our team to have a couple days off,” he said. “That GBN game, after the Pontiac (tournament), we were running in mud, we weren’t moving well. This forced us to give the kids extra days off and get their legs ready to go.”
New Trier sits at 3-1 in the Central Suburban South, a game and a half behind GBN, and returns to league action with games against Maine South on Tuesday, Jan. 16, in Winnetka and Deerfield on Friday, Jan. 19, in Deerfield.