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Critical rematch ahead for New Trier, Maine South

02/12/2013, 5:51pm CST
By Matt Harness mharness@pioneerlocal.com

New Trier and Maine South will face-off in a rematch for the CSL South title on Friday at Gates Gym.

Park Ridge, 1/11/13--Maine South's Frank Dounis drives toward the basket around New Trier's Reid Berman during Friday's game. | Jeff Krage~for Sun-Times Media

Early last week, Reid Berman said Beardsley Gym was his second-favorite place he’s played basketball during his prep career.

The New Trier senior point guard added another good memory there Friday when the Trevians beat the Wildkits 70-39.

This week, Berman gets to play another big game. He will be at home at Gates Gym — which sits atop his list of places to play — when New Trier hosts Maine South for the CSL South championship Friday.

“This is how you want it,” New Trier coach Scott Fricke said. “You want the two teams that deserve it to play in the last game like this. Win or lose, we will move on and prepare for the state tournament.”

The Hawks (24-3, 8-1) are ranked No. 19 by the Sun-Times, and the Trevians (23-4, 8-1) are 22nd. Maine South beat New Trier 47-45 in overtime on Jan. 11, the sixth time in the last nine meetings between the teams that was decided by one possession.

“I figured once we lost to them the last time, it would come down to this game,” Berman said. “I’m really excited.”

Maine South coach Tony Lavorato, whose club has won 13 games in a row since losing to Bogan 64-45 on Dec. 29 at Proviso West’s tournament, said he’s never been part of a game like this in the conference.

“It’s more of a random thing and a freak occurrence, but it will make for great theater and great basketball,” he said.

Expect Maine South to play deliberate offense and suffocating defense. Lavorato said stopping New Trier senior Steven Cook is a priority. The 6-foot-4 forward scored a game-high 22 points last month.

“Cook is the best player in our conference,” Lavorato said. “When he goes, they go. Berman isn’t far away. Those are the two best players at their positions in our conference.

“Plus, they have a great supporting cast and some depth.”

Berman said New Trier, winner of 10 consecutive games, needs to be patient on offense and attack when the opportunity presents itself.

“They (Maine South) are going to slow everything down and wait for you to make a mental mistake,” Berman said. “We are a patient team that can get good shots. We need to play great defense, get rebounds and get out and run. I think if we do that, we can beat them.” ~.

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