Considering that it was the season opener --- with two freshmen plugged in to the starting lineup and a bunch of other new faces on the floor --- Evanston’s defense was in mid-season form Thursday night in the first round of the Deerfield Thanksgiving tournament.
The defending tournament champion ETHS girls demolished Waukegan 59-20, forcing 43 turnovers and surrendering just 6 field goals in the lopsided victory.
Already leading 30-14 at halftime, Evanston outscored the losers 15-0 in the third quarter to blow the game open.
Dashae Shumate scored a team-high 12 points and added 4 steals, while freshmen Leighah Wool and Krystal Forrester netted 8 points apiece and combined for 15 rebounds for the winners.
About the only sour note for the Wildkits was a 3-for-22 shooting performance from 3-point range against Waukegan’s 3-2 zone defense, but head coach Elliot Whitefield said he wasn’t concerned.
“We will have to improve on that 3-point percentage,” Whitefield said, “but those are good looks for Sierra and Seara (Clayborn twins). I know they’re good shooters and those were wide open 3s tonight.
“I also thought the kids who came off the bench did a very good job of executing our traps and rotating on defense (on a night where the Kits played primarily zone defense). I’m looking for players who can fill those 7-8-9 spots in our rotation. I thought Adrianna Carter (5 points, 4 steals) did a nice job and Ashley Smith did some nice things, too.”
Back-to-back baskets by Wool stretched Evanston’s lead to 16-2 at the end of the first quarter. Waukegan did close to within 24-11 in the final two minutes of the half, before consecutive jump shots by Mae DeVuono and Sierra Clayborn extended the lead again.
Evanston resumes tournament play on Friday at 7:30 p.m. against Lincoln Park.