New Trier’s Ciaran Brayboy says he didn’t know exactly what he was doing during his heroic, game-winning play on Tuesday in Winnetka.
Trevians guard Andrew Kirkpatrick missed a three-point attempt with the score tied. Brayboy, a 6-9 junior, leaped in the air and tipped in the rebound with 1.5 seconds left to give New Trier a 60-58 win against unbeaten, No. 4 Niles North.
“I had no clue [how much time was left] but I was up there and I had it in my hands,” Brayboy said. “I didn’t know if it would go in, but then it did. It felt so good.”
New Trier (10-2, 4-0 Central Suburban League South) put in a top-notch performance against one of the state’s best teams and led by seven points with just 2:25 left to play. But the Trevians kept missing free throws and let the Vikings (13-1, 3-1) back in the game.
New Trier was 4 for 11 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.
“We are a better free throw shooting team than that,” New Trier coach Scott Fricke said. “The kids felt the pressure with this game. You are playing [the No. 4 ranked, undefeated team] and you are in a position to win. We won’t miss free throws like that anymore.”
Brayboy finished with 19 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks. Niles North has several talented players, but no one with the size to matchup with Brayboy or 6-8 junior Spencer Boehm.
“Coach’s number one point was to pound it inside,” Brayboy said. “I’m glad the guards did that and I was successful taking advantage of it.”
The game was tied at the half. Niles North opened the third quarter with a 6-0 run. The Vikings forced another turnover and were about to add to the lead when Damaria Franklin’s dunk went in and out. That changed the momentum. New Trier responded with a 17-4 run.
“That was a huge momentum play,” Fricke said. “We talked all week about [Niles North] being a team of runs. They are a great team that can put up a 12-0 run before you can blink. For us to get punched like that showed some resolve. Just like that we were right back in the game.”
Griffin Ryan scored 12 points for the Trevians, he made two three pointers early in that run. Senior guard Andrew Kirkpatrick added 11 points. Brian Conaghan had six points and six rebounds and junior Sam Silverstein added five points and eight rebounds.
Fricke said he’s totally comfortable with Kirkpatrick taking those big shots at the end of games.
“I just wanted to get a shot up early,” Kirkpatrick said. “I actually thought I made it but I knew if I didn’t that my teammates would be around the basket to finish it. Obviously we have two big guys that can crash the glass hard.”
Dravon Clayborn led Niles North with 24 points and seven rebounds and Franklin added 19 points and four rebounds.