RECAP: NT 57, WHEELING 43
The slam dunk has been a staple all season for the New Trier boys basketball team.
So yep, “That was easy.”
The host Trevians broke open a fairly tight game in the semifinal round of their own Class 4A regional on Feb. 27, when they went on a dunking spree to open the second half.
Back-to-back breakaway stuffs by 6-foot-9 junior Ciaran Brayboy and 6-8 junior Spencer Boehm ignited the offense — and put the home crowd in a frenzy — as the Trevians raced to a 57-43 victory over Wheeling. They will host Prospect (22-5) in the regional championship on March 2 at 7 p.m.
“We came out and played with a sense of urgency in the second half,” said NT head coach Scott Fricke. “We just needed something to get us over the hump.”
Brayboy ended up with three dunks in the third quarter.
Then, in the waning seconds of the game, New Trier’s Sam Silverstein drained one off a full-court pass from Andrew Kirkpatrick.
“We’ve got some high flyers on this team,” said NT senior Matt Samuelson, who came off the bench to score seven points. “I see it every day in practice. It’s special. And it’s pretty amazing to watch.”
Silverstein, a 6-4 junior, certainly can keep up with the Super Bs — Brayboy and Boehm.
“Sam just might be the purest dunker on the team,” said Samuelson. “He’s real smooth. And I’ve seen him throw down a windmill dunk in practice.”
The No. 2 seeded Trevians (23-5) started the game like the old Monsters of the Midway, throwing a shutout in the first quarter (11-0).
“Then, their kid banks in a three,” said Fricke, referring to freshman Joe Jordan’s trey in the first minute of the second quarter, “and the game gets close.”
The Wildcats (8-20) made things interesting for awhile, especially when they trimmed NT’s lead to six points, 20-14, at halftime.
“They’ve got a lot of guys who can shoot the ball,” said Fricke. “They’ve pretty much been every game this year.”
NT’s Game Balls: Ciaran Brayboy (Jr., C), Spencer Boehm (Jr. F)
Wheeling’s Game Balls: Michael Best (Jr., G), Jeremy Kim (Jr., G)
Player of the Game: Brayboy
NT’s Unsung Hero: Matt Samuelson
NT’s Stat Leaders
— Brayboy (14 points, 6 rebounds)
— Boehm (9 points, 10 rebounds)
— Samuelson (7 points)
— Andrew Kirkpatrick (9 points, 6 assists)
— Sam Silverstein (7 points, 3 rebounds)
— Griff Ryan (5 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals)
— Brian Conaghan (5 points, 5 rebounds)
Wheeling’s Stat Leaders
— Best (14 points)
— Kim (12 points, 4 three-pointers)