Evanston Township High School head coach Bobby Locke said two weeks ago that his 8-8 club was struggling because his team was not sick of losing yet. Their 1-point loss to Maine South on Jan. 23 must have sent a message to a now rejuvenated Wildkit ball club. After a big win over a strong Thornwood team the day after a heartbreaking loss to the Hawks, the Kits made a clean sweep of New Trier and Rich Central the next week. The Kits came home after splitting two games on the road on Jan. 16 and 17, and faced a Maine South team they had already beaten in early December. Although Evanston was heavily favored in the big conference game, the game started in a see-saw battle and the Hawks went ahead 19-18 after the first quarter, mostly on 3-point baskets. The second quarter was highlighted by tough inside play by the Kits senior big man Eric Dortch and junior Tyrone Gibbs. Gibbs went on to have a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Neither team had an advantage going into the second half, but Maine South found an inside game led by senior center Kevin Schlitter and his sharpshooting at the free-throw line. Maine South tied the game going into the closing moments of the fourth period, in which craziness ensued. After Hawks senior guard John Alviti made his second free throw to put the Hawks up by 2, he foolishly spiked the ball in the air and picked up a technical foul giving Evanston a chance to tie the game. Kits sophomore guard Garrett Jones made two free throws, tying the game at 66-66; the Kits were also rewarded with the possession. What could have been the final shot went to Kits junior Ryan Frazier-Chambers, but he missed. The ball went up and Eric Dortch seemed to tip the ball up as time expired, but he was called for a foul on the play, giving Maine South the chance to win on a free-throw shot. Schlitter made the shot to send Evanston fans home stunned with a 67-66 loss. The next night the Kits seemed to come onto the court with a focus unseen since last year. A fast Chicago Thornton team was the victim. After the Kits took an early lead in the first quarter, they made sure they did not let the lead slip away as it had many times before in the season. Garrett Jones stepped up in a big way and became the prolific scorer Evanston fans knew he could be when he joined the team last season as a freshman. Jones not only showed his shooting stroke but drove hard to the basket throughout the game, getting easy lay-ups or getting to the free-throw line, where he was 7-8. He came up especially big in the final period, scoring 8 points down the stretch, leading the Kits to a 61-53 win. Jones finished with a career-high 28 points. The Kits then moved to Welsh-Ryan Arena on Jan. 30, for the third match-up between the Kits and New Trier this season, each team having previously won one game. Evanston also welcomed a long-awaited face into the roster, Nik Garcia, who played his first game in an Evanston uniform since transferring from Niles West. Surprisingly Garcia was not the biggest story that Friday night. Evanston came looking for revenge for the Trevians’ big win by 14 the month before on the same court, and Eric Dortch made sure there was no doubt. The senior forward came off the bench in the biggest way and became the Kits’ garbage man down low. It seemed as though every shot Evanston missed, Dortch was right there to clean up and put the ball in the hoop. He had 28 points in the effort, one shy of his career high, and had 12 rebounds, 9 of which came on the offensive glass. Evanston was down 8-0 quickly, and it seemed Trevian junior Alex Rossi would dominate the game, but he ended up with only 7 points and eventually fouled out in the fourth period. Evanston led by as much as 25 in the 58-43 domination at Northwestern. Garcia had 6 points, all at the free throw line and was 0-8 from the field. If he was just rusty after not playing for eight months, the next night he showed he would quickly shine. The Kits traveled to Olympia Fields to take on Rich Central where Garcia showed why he was so highly touted before the season started. The senior star scored 21 points, pulled down 6 rebounds and made a good showing on defense in a big 61-49 win. Garrett Jones scored 18 points and Dortch scored 13 points for a Wildkit team that has won three straight games. Next, Evanston plays away at Niles West on Feb. 6 and then stays home the next week for two straight games against Prospect and Glenbrook South. Maybe now Evanston has found the team that can take them back to the Sears Centre for another chance to go downstate.