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New Trier was a little listless to start its game against Schurz in the St. Patrick Regional semifinals on Wednesday night.
Steven Cook had the perfect cure for the Trevians’ malaise: a two-handed reverse dunk. The 6-foot-4 senior’s monster jam helped kickstart a first quarter run that turned a one-point lead into a double-digit advantage as No. 22 New Trier cruised to a 70-38 victory.
“We just didn’t have the energy we normally have and sometimes plays like that spark us,” said Cook, who finished with eight points. “I usually don’t get fast breaks where I’m that wide-open so I tried something special. I’ve been trying to get that reverse for a while now.”
The Trevians (25-5) led 10-9 when a half court steal and pass to Cook led to the crowd-pleasing dunk with 2:00 to play in the first quarter. Ricky Samuelson (15 points) followed with a rare four-point play and another three-pointer with 2.1 remaining in the first.
“I felt pretty good during warm-ups; I was feeling confident and I just hit my shots,” Samuelson said. “Cook’s a great player and when he dunks like that it gets the crowd going and the team fired up.”
Schurz (11-17), which trailed 19-9 at the end of the first quarter, was never able to get within single digits and by halftime the Bulldogs were in a 39-24 hole.
The knockout punch by New Trier came midway through the third quarter with Schurz trying to hang on, down 44-28. A pair of treys by Aaron Rosen sparked a 16-0 run to end the quarter as the Trevians took complete command of the game, leading 60-28 entering the fourth.
“We came out strong and were playing our type of basketball and then everything fell apart,” said Deven Weathers, who led the Bulldogs with nine points. “You see it all the time in college basketball or the NBA. A dunk like that hypes up the team, it brings out team spirit.”
Reid Berman added 13 points for the Trevians while Stas Banas and Aaron Angel had seven points apiece.