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New Trier's Stas Banas scores between Niles North's Malachi Nix (left) and BJ Bedford during the Glenbrook North Sectional final on Friday, March 8, 2013 in Northbrook. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
New Trier coach Scott Fricke said he and his staff got little sleep after Thursday's win over Notre Dame.
Maybe that's why the third-seeded Trevians tried to play man defense against fourth-seeded Niles North and standout senior guard Malachi Nix early in Friday's sectional final at Glenbrook North.
After seeing Nix score seven points in the first quarter — most of them on acrobatic drives to the basket — Fricke moved to a 1-3-1 zone and effectively slowed down the Vikings for the final 24 minutes.
The result was a 65-42 victory, which earned New Trier its first sectional championship since 2005, back when Fricke was an assistant to Rick Malnati.
"We always go into a game preparing to play man-to-man (defense)," Fricke said. "(But) Malachi Nix was doing basically whatever he wanted against us. We had to play something where we had more than one guy guarding him."
With Steven Cook, a 6-4 senior guard at the top of the zone, the Trevians (28-5) neutralized the Vikings (27-5) and Nix, who finished with 22 points but none over the final six minutes of the game.
"I tried to make it so there were no easy passes or shots and make it really hard for them to create," Cook said.
Cook also performed at a high level on the other end on the court, where he scored a game-high 30 points to go with six rebounds and three blocked shots.
New Trier senior point guard Reid Berman continually set Cook up in good position. Berman finished with a career-high 14 assists.
"Reid's done that all year," Cook said. "He gets our team going. When he's playing like that, he's unstoppable."
Berman passed on a compliment to his teammate.
"I've known Steven since second grade, and that's the best — bar none — I've ever seen him play," Berman said.
New Trier plays in the supersectional Tuesday at Chicago State against Simeon, which beat Young on Friday at Argo. Cook said he's looking forward to the challenge that the Wolverines and Duke-bound Jabari Parker bring to the game.
"We are going there to make a statement," Cook said. "There's nothing we can't do."