After winning the season finale against Lincoln Park on Feb. 11 by a score of 56-
40, the Evanston Township High School girls basketball team hoped to use that momentum at the Class 4A Evanston Regionals as part of the 18-team New Trier Sectional.
On Feb. 14, the sixth-seeded Wildkits did just that, beating 12th seed Von Steuben, 52-24, in Beardsley Gym in Evanston. “We really did not know much about Von Steuben except they had a player going to UIC,” said head coach Elliot Whitefield. “Defensively we played very well and thought we moved the ball well against their zone. I thought we came out very focused.”
From there, the Kits took on fourth-seed Loyola on Feb. 17 in the regional championship game and were defeated by the Ramblers, 46-31, thus ending their season on a sour note. “Loyola is a good team that plays hard and smart. In the first half both teams played poorly,” said Whitefield. “[But] in the second half, they hit some shots and controlled the tempo. We needed our top players to have good games and it did not happen. It was a very frustrating game to coach. Hopefully we will learn from it.”
The Kits finished the regular season with an overall record of 14-12 and 4-6 in Central Suburban League South Conference play. Despite their defeat in the regional round, Whitefield feels his team had a successful season, but knows there is work to be done.
“We had great wins against Maine South [on Jan. 20, 46-36] and New Trier [on Jan. 6, 46-44], but overall we were very inconsistent both in practice and games. Offensively, we need to improve our passing, dribbling and most of all shooting,” said Whitefield.
The coach added, “For the most part I was pleased with our effort during games. In practice, we did not always compete and there were days where we lacked focus and I’ll take the blame for most of that. We had a lot of younger players who will need to mature before next year for us to be a top team.”
The Kits have reason to be optimistic that next year will bring another quality season, as they will have a number of players returning.
“With CSL all-conference center Alecia Cooley back for her senior year, juniors Sierra and Seara Clayborn in their third year of varsity basketball, as well as a hard-working, athletic sophomore team added to the mix, we should be able to compete for a conference title. It’s the players’ job this offseason to improve on their individual skills and then it is my job to put the pieces together.”
If the Kits can put it all together, there is no telling where this team will end up at the end of next season.