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The Evanston girls basketball team was expecting more from this season than they have got so far. After back-to-back losses — 54-41 to Prospect on Dec. 26 and 51-31 to Rockton Hononegah on Dec. 27 — the Wildkits’ overall record was 3-10. The Kits faced a tall task against the 23rd-ranked Prospect, who improved to 12-1 after that game. “They are a solid team that wanted a win more then we did that game,” said senior Krystal Prichett.

Head coach Steve Wool points to free-throw shooting as the difference in that game. Prospect made 17 of 21 from the charity stripe. “Our girls played hard and gave great effort [but] it’s the little things that are catching up to us that we will correct,” said Wool.

 “We are a much better team than our record shows and we are very positive that we will turn things around,” added senior player Nicole Brown.  The Kits beat Maine West 61-58 on Dec. 29, but could not carry that momentum any further and were edged by Regina 44-42 the next day.

With that, the Kits ended the 26th annual Dundee Crown Charger Classic with a 1-3 record, and are now 4-11 overall. This marks the worst start in Wool’s eight years as head coach.

“Coming out of this tournament we didn’t hang our heads. It showed us the team we can be, which is a great team. [In] the last two games we played, we had great energy and it only gets us ready for the rest of the games in 2009,” said Prichett.

Brown added, “The Dundee tournament is always fun. We get to play some of the best teams in the state and it’s a good measuring stick of how good we are.”

“I learned that we are a good team when we play for each other. It showed in the Maine West game, and I think we made some giant steps toward being a contender in the second half of the season,” said Coach Wool.

The Kits are 0-4 in Central Suburban South Conference play so far. They have a chance to improve on that in the near future: They play Glenbrook South on Friday, Highland Park on Jan. 13, and they will host Waukegan on Jan. 16. From there, they play against 12th-ranked Marshall in the MLK Dream Classic on Martin Luther King Day, Jan. 19.

Wool has kept the Kits thinking positive even though their overall record is less than stellar thus far. “[He] keeps us motivated by reminding us who we play for. Its all about the team, and if we believe in each other we will be successful,” said Brown.   

“Wool is doing a great job motivating us. He keeps the belief alive that we are a good team from the start [of the season] to now, in the middle of the season, and it really brings us up after a great win or terrible loss,” added Prichett.

The Kits are hoping for greater success in 2009, and, by beating Maine West after losing to them earlier in the year, they have reason to believe that. “I would imagine that things will get moving in the right direction, hopefully after the New Year,” said Wool.

And they did: The Kits started off the New Year  right, beating Bogan 54-52 on Jan. 3.