The Evanston Township High School boys basketball team won its eighth consecutive game on Jan. 20, beating the Thornwood Thunderbirds by a score of 78-59. The Kits were led by senior guard Zack Morton who posted a team-high 15 points, and was one of four Evanston players to score in double figures. Freshman guard Garret Jones played another solid game off the bench for Coach Bobby Locke, adding 11 points, and senior forward Deryan Hunt showed off his improved play with an 8-point, 6-rebound effort. Evanston continued their great free-throw shooting, hitting 13 of 15 from the line.
Even though the Kits won by 19 points, the game was close in the first half, as Michael Ogbevire’s eight points helped keep the Thunderbirds close. The game was competitive and physical and the Kits went into halftime leading 34-31. Evanston trailed by a point at the 3:21 mark of the third period when the team went on a 12-6 run; the Wildkits never looked back.
Evanston’s biggest victory during the winning streak came on Jan. 11 against New Trier in front of a packed house at Northwestern University’s Welsh-Ryan Arena. The Wildkits and Trevians battled the entire way with neither team able to stretch a lead beyond 7 points until the fourth quarter. The Wildkits, who trailed at halftime, played a strong second half and knocked off New Trier 57-50, taking sole possession of first place in the Central Suburban South Conference. Coach Locke was thrilled about the win.
“This was for first place in the sectional, and we knew just how important this game was coming in,” Coach Locke said. “We now control our own destiny in the conference and for our seeding in the playoffs. I am just really proud of these guys, who never lost their composure, and earned a huge win for themselves, the school and the whole community.”
Morton led the team with 12 points. Sophomore guard Ryan Frazier-Chambers chipped in 11 off the bench. Nearly 8,000 fans packed into the gym to watch the two bitter rivals square off. “The energy that the fans brought to the game was unbelievable. We were really hyped-up to play at the start of the game and I think we lost our focus a little,” Morton said. “But then we settled down and played the way we have been playing all year.”
The turning point in the game came in the fourth quarter when New Trier’s Jack Bohem was charged with a technical foul, igniting an 8-0 run by the Kits. Evanston’s win over New Trier marked their third straight win against the Trevians and puts them in position to be the number-one seed in their sectional for the State playoffs.
“We now have to keep this momentum and take it all the way to the playoffs,” Morton said. “Our goal is to get to State and we feel that we can definitely accomplish that goal with the way we are playing right now.”
Evanston faces Glenbrook South on Jan. 25 at Beardsley Gym. Tip off is 7:30 p.m.