It had been nine months since New Trier faced rival Loyola, but leading up to their matchup Wednesday night, the memory of that game was just as clear as ever. In the regional semifinal last March, New Trier overcame a 16-point third quarter deficit but fell short, losing 51-49 and eliminating them from the playoffs.
“I’ve been looking forward to this for a while,” sophomore Spencer Boehm said before the game. “Everybody’s been talking about different games but for me it’s always been Loyola this first game. We’ve got to beat Loyola.”
The two teams met again Wednesday at the scene of last year’s playoff game, in the loud, packed gym at Loyola Academy, but this time New Trier came out on top, 56-54 in an overtime thriller.
“For us to come back and take the lead and then go to overtime after missing a couple shots to win the game and come back and compete like that, it was great,” coach Scott Fricke said.
Sophomore Ciaran Brayboy led the way for New Trier with 13 points before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. Junior Andrew Kirkpatrick scored 10 and Boehm added eight including a big offensive rebound and two critical free-throws in overtime. Loyola’s Ramar Evans led all scores with 20 points.
After Loyola closed out the third quarter on an 8-2 run behind two three-pointers by Evans, Fricke saw signs of history repeating.
“We were in this position at the regional last year,” he said. “We played a great first half and they went on a 16-4 run in the third quarter and we wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again.”
The Trevians answered with a 12-3 fourth quarter run to go up by two with just over two minutes remaining. But after Kirkpatrick missed an off-balance layup, Loyola’s Matt Sechman hit a jumper to tie the game. Kirkpatrick had another chance in the team’s final possession, but his shot rolled off the rim sending the game to overtime.
Overtime came down to a free-throw battle, as New Trier scored all seven of their overtime points from the line. Teddy McGregor’s two shots put New Trier up 56-51 with 42 seconds left, but a three-pointer by Evens and two missed free-throws by Kirkpatrick gave Loyola one final chance. But Evans air-balled his game-winning attempt as time expired and New Trier students rushed the court.
“We wanted to prove a point that we weren’t going to back down from them like we did the past couple years, that we were here to stay and we weren’t going to lose to them,” Boehm said after the game.
Asked if he got the revenge he was looking for, Boehm’s smile filled the long, cavernous school hallway.
“Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah. I definitely felt it out there looking at their faces and them being so upset and the crowd storming on the court, oh yea. It was a lot of fun.”