By: Luke Drase
Coming into the Proviso West tournament, New Trier and Hillcrest each had something to prove. Though both schools are ranked in the top-20, each lacked a signature win.
Hillcrest took the first step in answering some of those questions with their 49-41 win over the Trevians to advance to the second round of the loaded Proviso West holiday tournament.
The game started in the Trevians favor as Hillcrest kept running into the New Trier trees when they attacked the basket.
After the opening 6-0 run from New Trier, Hillcrest adjusted their offense accordingly. Instead of recklessly attacking the rim, Hillcrest kicked the ball outside each time the New Trier defense collapsed.
“We knew we had to bring energy and rebound. We know that New Trier likes to get the ball inside and when we switched from man to the 2-3 zone they couldn’t handle it,” said Hillcrest’s Robert Harvey. “They also gave us a lot of open looks. They kind of sagged off of us so we just took the open shot and knocked them down.”
The adjustment from Hillcrest saw the Hawks quickly erase the early deficit and take the lead early in the second quarter.
The teams battled back and forth through much of the second quarter which saw five ties, and three lead changes until Harvey came alive for Hillcrest.
With the game tied at 20 with just over one minute in the second half, Hillcrest scored seven unanswered points which included a buzzer beating three pointer by Harvey to lead the Hawks with 14 first half points.
Hillcrest built on that momentum after the halftime break, extending their lead early in the third quarter before taking their foot off the gas allowing the Trevians to get back in the contest.
New Trier chipped away at the lead for all of the third quarter until they finally tied it up at 37 with five minutes left in the game.
As New Trier was committed to stopping Harvey in the second half, Hillcrest was forced to go to other options down the stretch. Jalen Hughes stepped up for the Hawks as he went seven for eight from the free throw line down the stretch to finish with 14 and ice the 69-61 win for Hillcrest.
Harvey said: “Yeah, they started face guarding me but thats when my teammates had to step up and they did, so it ended up fine.”
In addition to Harvey’s game high 25 points and Hughes’ 14, Hillcrest received an unnoticed, but important wight assists from Jeremiah Staten while New Trier was paced by Spencer Boehm who finished with 12 points and six rebounds.
Hillcrest moves on to face Bogan in the second round of the tournament while New Trier has another tough matchup in the consolation bracket against Proviso East.