After falling to St. Patrick 58-56 in the North Shore Shootout at Loyola on Feb. 4, the Evanston Township High School boys basketball team hoped to rebound and gain some momentum heading into Regionals, dropping their overall record on the season to 14-9.
The Kits bounced back against archrival New Trier on Feb. 10 at Northwestern’s Welsh-Ryan Arena, beating the Trevians 55-52 in overtime. In that game, the Kits led 38-26 early in the fourth quarter, but the Trevians responded with a 15-2 run to take the lead at 41-40 with under four minutes left. From there, the Kits looked to be in good shape, leading 47-44 with 30 seconds remaining. But New Trier’s Reid Berman hit a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left to force overtime.
In the extra session, the Kits pulled ahead with 43 seconds left after senior Leonard Garron hit two free throws. The Trevians missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer, giving the Kits the victory, upsetting the No. 12 Trevians. With the victory, the Kits improved to 15-9 overall and 5-4 in Central Suburban League South Conference play. Senior Terrell Farmby led the way with 14 points and Garron chipped in 10 for the Kits.
“It was a great win, a team win,” said assistant coach Steve Wool. “We really focused on stopping Connor Boehm, a guy who hurt us last time. We thought that Coach Ellis set up a great game plan to really negate his strengths and he was exhausted.” The Kits forced Boehm into shooting 3 for 16 from the field.
“Credit our kids. We knocked down big free throws down the stretch and we played with a lot of heart. This team is really doing well,” said Wool.
The next night, the Kits looked to carry the momentum from the New Trier game into a matchup with St. Charles East at Beardsley Gym in Evanston. The Kits did just that, beating the Fighting Saints on senior night, 60-53. In a defensive battle, the Kits trailed the Saints through one quarter at 12-11 and 27-25 at halftime. In the third quarter, the Kits outscored the visitors 11-9 to tie the game at 36.
With just over five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, senior Jordan Perrin hit a 3-pointer to break a 40-40 tie, giving the Kits the lead at 43-40. After the Saints got to within 1 with a bucket, senior Josh Irving hit another 3, extending the lead to 5 at 46-42. But the Saints responded once again and the score was 46-45 with three minutes remaining.
From there, Perrin answered once again with an acrobatic reverse layup. Then senior Josh Irving hit a jumper and senior Randy Ollie added another, extending the lead to 52-45. That proved to be the dagger, as the Kits held on for the 60-53 win, improving to 16-9 on the season with two games remaining before Regionals. Garron and Perrin each had 16 points to lead the Kits and Irving added 11 points.
“As a staff and as a team I think we played [one of] our best games of the year,” said Wool. “As far as coming off of a great win last night, we did not have any kind of emotional letdown. I thought we got contributions from quite a few players, which is great. It was nice to end [the home season schedule] with a win in Beardsley Gym on Senior Night.”
Regarding Garron’s performance against St. Charles East, Wool said, “He has been solid, he has a lot of experience and he had to defend the best offensive player on their team. He also did a great job around the bucket.”
Regarding Perrin, Wool added, “He has had two solid nights in a row. He showed great senior leadership and had two huge buckets. He’s an exciting player. He and Josh together are like two ‘mighty mice’ running around. They are fun to watch.”
Next up for the Kits is a matchup with CSL foe Glenbrook South on Friday night, to be followed by the season finale against Glenbrook North on Feb. 21. From there, the Kits will play in the first round of the Class 4A Notre Dame Regionals on Feb. 29 against Maine West. The Kits are the No. 5 seed in the GBS Sectional.
“It is at their place, which is a tough place to play,” said Wool regarding Glenbrook South. “With GBS, we don’t know what to expect because they change defenses a lot, they go zone, they go switching men, they do a lot of different things, [but] we’ll be prepared.”