It’s a rematch. For the second year in a row, Highland Park will meet Lake Forest in a Class 4A regional championship game.
The tilt is set for March 6 at 7 p.m. at Mundelein High School. The winner advances to the Waukegan Sectional.
HP (20-7) held off New Trier 44-41 in a regional semifinal game at Mundelein on March 4. The Trevians finished the season with a 20-10 record.
Game Rating: A-
Referee Rating: B
Game Balls: Luke Norcia (Highland Park), Hallvard Lundevall (Highland Park), Ryan Haak (New Trier)
Stat Leaders: Norcia (15 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals), Haak (16 (points, 4 rebounds), Lundevall (9 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists), HP’s David Sachs (9 points, 7 rebounds), HP’s Jason Beermann (6 points, 3 steals), NT’s David Hammes (8 points, 3 rebounds), NT’s Robbie Abuls (7 points), NT’s Sean Boyd (5 points, 6 rebounds), NT’s Tino Malnati (4 rebounds, 8 assists)
Moment of Truth: Lundevall hit two free throws with 11.8 seconds left to give HP its winning margin, 44-41.
In the Clutch: In the final 2:01 of the game, Norcia hit two free throws and buried a three-pointer from the left corner, while Haak matched that effort with a bucket inside and a three-pointer in the final 1:52 of the game.
Notables: HP’s Jordan Krawitz tipped in a missed shot with 2:24 left to put HP ahead 37-36. … Abuls got hot in the middle of the fourth when he hit a three and a long two on back-to-back possessions. … Five of Malnati’s eight assists came in the fourth quarter. … Haak finished the game with four threes; Norcia had three triples.
Game trends: The game had eight lead changes, including five in the second quarter. … New Trier scored the game’s first seven points. … HP’s had the game’s biggest lead: 10 points, 34-24, late in the third quarter.
Noteworthy: This is the second time in school history that the Giants have stacked back-to-back 20-win seasons. … New Trier’s roster included 10 seniors; HP has seven seniors. … NT junior guard Michael Hurley came off the bench and played limited minutes. He had been sidelined for three games with pneumonia. He had two points, one assist and one block. … NT junior reserve, Colin Winchester, missed the game with a foot injury.
Sound Bites: “We feel very fortunate to come out with a win. We’re two very evenly matched teams. We have the same strengths (outside shooting).” — HP head coach Paul Harris
“When they came at us, they came at us hard,” — Paul Harris, on New Trier’s fourth-quarter run.
“I thought we got tentative. And once we stopped being tentative, we did all right. We were able to crawl all the way back,” — New Trier head coach Scott Fricke, on falling behind by 10 points late in third quarter.
“That tip-in (by Krawitz). That’s the play that’s going to keep coming back in my thoughts for a long time,” — Scott Fricke.
“Right now, it hurts,” — Scott Fricke
What’s on Tap: Lake Forest will hold the psychological edge in the regional title game. Highland Park has faced Lake Forest twice this season — and lost both times. In the quarterfinal round of the York Holiday Classic in December, LF came away with a 51-43 victory. Then, on Feb. 21 in the City-Suburban Showdown at Niles West High School, the Scouts topped HP 57-35.
Lake Forest (26-2), which advanced to the regional title game by downing Glenbrook South 60-50 on March 3, is led by 6-8 senior Evan Boudreaux, who has scored 2,001 career points.
Flashback: In last year’s regional title game, Highland Park defeated Lake Forest 48-39 at Libertyville High School.