HILLSIDE, Ill. -- When Donnie Boyce was hired prior to the season, his promise was to return Proviso East’s program to the heights it reached during his playing days.
On Friday, his words met the Pirates’ actions when No. 2 Proviso East defeated No. 11 New Trier 68-55 in the Proviso West holiday tournament championship before 2,780 fans. It was the Pirates’ first title since they won it in consecutive years in 1990 and 1991. Boyce was a senior on the 1990 team.
“It’s amazing,” said Boyce, whose team improved to 11-0. “To be able to win it as a player and then come back my first year coaching, it’s unbelievable. I’m just really pleased with the effort my team gave this whole tournament.”
Proviso East set the tone for Friday’s win in the opening minutes of the game. The Pirates jumped on New Trier with their intense full-court pressure and disrupted the Trevians’ offense while creating their own scoring opportunities.
Proviso East built a 23-10 after one quarter. Senior Keith Carter, who earned tournament MVP honors, had six of his 15 points in the first quarter.
“That was a key,” Carter said. “We had started slow the first three [tournament] games. That made us fight hard.”
New Trier answered back. The Trevians (11-2) never took the lead, but they did pull within two points by halftime and kept Proviso East within striking distance throughout the second half.
Proviso East’s Paris Burns gave his team some breathing room in the third quarter. He had six points, four rebounds and one steal in the quarter, and the Pirates took a 48-41 advantage into the final eight minutes.
The Pirates were balanced across the board. Carter, Burns (12 points), Paris Lee (17 points) and Sterling Brown (15 points, 12 rebounds) all finished in double figures. Brown was also named to the all-tournament first team.
“I feel coach Donnie is bringing the old swagger back from the state championship team and bringing it to now,” Lee said. “I feel good for the program. This means a lot. It hasn’t really hit me yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to hit me.”
New Trier’s Connor Boehm also earned first-team tournament honors after his 16-point, six-rebound performance against Proviso East. Austin Angel (12 points), Steven Cook (12 points) and Jordan Thomas (15 points) contributed for the Trevians.