Three-ball lifts New Trier past Fenwick


Three-ball lifts New Trier past Fenwick

By Patrick McGavin

David Bragiel was almost embarrassed by the question. I dont normally shoot like this, the New Trier senior guard said. It is pretty hard to improve on perfection.Bragiel hit four three-pointers and made all five of his shots in scoring 18 points and distributing a team-leading seven assists to lead the No. 13 Trevians over Fenwick 62-47 in a first-round Proviso West Holiday tournament matchup Tuesday in Hillside.New Trier advances to play Homewood-Flossmoor in Wednesdays quarterfinals.Bragiels initial two three-pointers helped New Trier (10-1) climb out of an early 5-0 deficit after Fenwick forward Luke Lattner opened the game with a jumper in the lane and a three-pointer from the left baseline. Following his lead, New Triers 6-7 star forward Connor Boehm took control. Boehm scored New Triers next eight points on an impressive variety of inside moves as New Trier led 14-7 after the first period. The outside-in tandem proved difficult for Fenwick (3-6) to match up against. Thats how its been the whole year, he said, because teams focus two or three guys to try and stop Connor and it leaves a lot of space for myself and the other shooters.The good thing is we have three or four guys that can make the shots.Boehm finished with 17 points and seven rebounds.New Trier (8 of 19 on three-pointers) outscored the Friars 24-9 from distance. Austin Angel (nine points) and Bragiel hit consecutive three-pointers as the Trevians seized a 30-21 lead at the break.The game turned late in the third quarter. Behind Samuel Ainsworth (12 points) and sophomore Scott Lindsey (10 points), the Friars mounted a 9-1 run to pull within 39-34. Bragiel broke a trap and found Angel unattended on the right baseline. Angel buried the three-pointers and followed that moments later with a three-point play.New Trier coach Scott Fricke thought his team was sluggish after a nearly two-week lay off. You have to give Fenwick a lot of credit, he said. They are long and active and forced a lot of turnovers in the first half. He also acknowledged the teams perimeter skills transcends the occasional lapse or mistake. We have a multitude of shooters, he said.New Trier also unveiled another dangerous weapon in 6-5 junior forward Steven Cook. He scored six of his 16 points in the second quarter. He also added a game-high 10 rebounds. Cook struggled with his shot early but became increasingly comfortable as the game wore on. This was my time really playing in the tournament and I think I was a little nervous because I wanted to do well, he said. As the game wore I got more comfortable.

Bears Talk Podcast: What's next for Bears at QB after Brian Hoyer suffers broken arm?


Bears Talk Podcast: What's next for Bears at QB after Brian Hoyer suffers broken arm?

Lance Briggs, Alex Brown and Jim Miller break down where the Bears go at QB following Brian Hoyer’s injury and evaluate the defense’s gutsy performance on Thursday night against the Packers despite numerous injuries. Plus, a look at the big picture and who can help the Bears down the road.

Check out the latest edition of the Bears Talk Podcast here:

Anthony Rizzo/Javier Baez antics show how this Cubs team doesn’t feel the same weight of history

Anthony Rizzo/Javier Baez antics show how this Cubs team doesn’t feel the same weight of history

LOS ANGELES – Within minutes of the last out on Thursday night at Dodger Stadium, ESPN’s @SportsCenter account sent out a photo of Moises Alou at the Wrigley Field wall to more than 30 million Twitter followers: “The last time the Cubs were up 3-2 in an NLCS was Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS vs. the Marlins. Most remember it as ‘the Bartman Game.’”

As Kerry Wood once said: “Irrelevant, dude.”
Look, the Cubs still need to find a way to beat either Clayton Kershaw or Rich Hill this weekend, with Kenley Jansen resting and waiting for the multiple-inning saves. The obligatory description for Kershaw is “the best pitcher on the planet.” Hill’s lefty curveball – and “the perceptual velocity” of his fastball – freezes hitters. Jansen has a mystical cutter reminiscent of the great Mariano Rivera. The top-heavy part of this Los Angeles playoff pitching staff has held the Cubs to zero runs in 16.1 innings.

But until proven otherwise, forget about this idea of a Cubs team weighed down by the history of a franchise that hasn’t played in the World Series since 1945.

Just look at Javier Baez getting in Anthony Rizzo’s airspace during Game 5, the human-highlight-film second baseman standing right next to the All-Star first baseman as he caught a Kike Hernandez pop-up for the second out of the third inning.

It didn’t matter that this was a 1-0 game and MVP-ballot players Justin Turner and Corey Seager were coming up. This is what the 2016 Cubs do. Rizzo caught the ball, quickly flipped it underhand and it bounced off Baez’s chest – in front of a sellout crowd of 54,449 and a national Fox Sports 1 audience.

“We always mess around,” Rizzo said at his locker inside a tight clubhouse jammed with media after an 8-4 win. “So I’m screaming: ‘Javy! Javy! I got it! I got it, Javy, I got it!’

“And usually he’ll yell at me: ‘Don’t miss it!’ Or I’ll yell at him: ‘Don’t miss it!’

“We do that a lot. If it’s a pop-up to him, I’ll go right behind him. It’s just little ways of slowing the game down and having fun, too.”

Rizzo is a Gold Glove-caliber first baseman for a team that led the majors in defensive efficiency this year. As a super-utility guy, Baez got credit for 11 defensive runs saved in 383 innings at second base, or one less than co-leaders Dustin Pedroia and Ian Kinsler, who each did it in almost 1,300 innings.

“Sometimes when I call (Rizzo) off to get a fly ball, he starts talking to me,” Baez said. “I tell him: ‘Hey, you can do whatever you want. Just don’t move my head. You can touch me if you want. Just don’t move my head.’

“And I told him to be ready for it, because I was going to do the same thing. You just got to be focused on the fly ball. No matter what’s happening around you, you just got to catch it.”

[SHOP: Buy a "Try Not to Suck" shirt with proceeds benefiting Joe Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation & other Cubs Charities]

This isn’t about Bartman. It’s about a group of young, confident players who are growing up together and absolutely expect to be in this position. It’s manager Joe Maddon designing “Embrace The Target” T-shirts and telling them to show up to the ballpark whenever they want and then blow off batting practice.

“For sure, we’re relaxed,” said Baez, who’s gone viral during these playoffs, the rest of the country witnessing his amazing instincts and flashy personality. “I’m relaxed when I play defense.”

The thing is, Rizzo and Baez could be playing next to each other for the next five years, the same way Kris Bryant and Addison Russell will be anchoring the left side of the infield.

This is how Rizzo introduced Russell to The Show when a natural shortstop tried to learn second base on the fly last year and track pop-ups in front of 40,000 people: “Hey, watch out for that skateboard behind you! Don’t trip!”

“Oh yeah, we yell at each other all the time,” Rizzo said. “It’s just one of those things where you got to stay loose.”