Sports

High school basketball: Jackson Munro, New Trier dominate rival Loyola


Jackson Munro’s double-double Wednesday night likely will be just one of many for the New Trier senior this season.

He’s a 6-8 Dartmouth recruit with the nice touch you’d expect inside, and the ability to step outside and hit a jumper on occasion.

But Munro’s 19 points and 13 rebounds in a 47-18 win over Loyola in pool play of the New Trier Thanksgiving Tournament was notable for a few reasons.

For one, points and rebounds were both at a premium as the score indicates.

While No. 9 New Trier (3-0) returns its starting five from the pandemic season, Loyola (2-1) is lacking in experience as well as size. So the Ramblers, long known for their deliberate offensive approach, doubled down on that strategy in an attempt to hang with the Trevians.

It produced some long possessions and some odd stats. New Trier led 11-0 after one quarter and 16-2 at halftime. Loyola missed its first 12 shots before Alex Engro hit a fall-away jumper 33 seconds before halftime.

Munro said he and his teammates were fine with long defensive possessions.

“We took advantage of our size,” Muro said. “They’re not the biggest team. We didn’t hit shots like we usually do but we guarded them really well.”

Indeed: Loyola shot 7 of 29.

There will be teams that try to get the Trevians into a track meet and Munro said that’s fine, too.

“We can play many different styles,” he said. “We can play up and down, shoot a bunch of shots. Or, we showed today, we can really guard, slow it down and rebound, play physical.

New Trier coach Scott Fricke agreed.

“We like playing fast,” he said. “But we can play slow and we can play a half-court game.”

When the pace does slow down, the Trevians’ minds don’t wander, either.

“We stayed locked in and we never lost focus,” Fricke said. “I thought the whole game, we might have given up maybe two or three wide-open looks without a handoff.”

New Trier’s Jake Fiegen (23) and Loyola’s Connor Casper (21) reach for the ball.

New Trier’s Jake Fiegen (23) and Loyola’s Connor Casper (21) reach for the ball.
Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

What also made the game distinctive, apart from the pace, was the fact that it was one of the last to be played at New Trier’s 93-year-old Gates Gymnasium.

The classic building, with its cozy dimensions, balcony on one end and old-school vibe will host its final games on Dec. 16 when the Trevians play Evanston in a boys/girls doubleheader. Groundbreaking will be next month for a new facility scheduled to open in 2023.

Munro is one of many who will miss Gates’ one-of-a-kind ambiance.

“I used to come and watch games all the time,” he said. “I remember just running around. There’s a fieldhouse downstairs, you’d play tag during halftime and stuff. So many great memories.”

“It’s really sad, you know?” Fricke said. “This gym means a lot to a lot of people. There were some unbelievable memories and games here. …

“And you know, when you really know the story about when you walk into work and the ceiling’s leaking in four spots … it’s time. We don’t like to say that. Love the building. But it’s time and we’re going to play as hard as we possibly can till that last game here.”



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