After beating St. Charles East 57-34 on Jan. 5, the Evanston Township High School girls basketball team intended to make it two straight victories when they took on Central Suburban League South Conference foe Glenbrook South on Jan. 11.That is exactly what happened, as the Wildkits beat the Titans 35-31 in a defensive battle at Beardsley Gym in Evanston.
In that game, the Kits held the Titans to just one field goal and three free throws in the first quarter. They were unable, however, to get their offense going, and were only able to make two field goals, giving the Titans a 5-4 lead after the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Titans extended their lead to 16-13 at the half, which they increased to 17-13 early in the third. A jumper by the Kits’ senior guard Erin Boothe brought the Kits to within 2 points, and with just over three minutes left in the third, junior guard Dashae Shumate made a layup and the Kits took the lead, 21-20.
The Titans would not stay down and, with six minutes left in the game, regained a lead of 26-23.
Junior guard Sierra Clayborn wasted no time, however, and hit a 3-pointer with 4 minutes and 24 seconds left to tie the score at 26. The Titans regained the lead once again after a free throw, but Boothe hit a jumper with three and a half minutes left and took the lead for the Kits for good at 29-28. From there, the Kits outscored the Titans 6-3 the rest of the way, giving them a 35-31 victory.
“They controlled the tempo for most of the night,” said Head Coach Elliot Whitefield. “We had trouble getting into transition [early], we had trouble initiating our offense, but at halftime we made some adjustments and were able to get the ball to the middle.”
With this win, the Kits improved to 17-2 overall and 6-0 in CSL South play. Shumate and Boothe led the Kits in scoring with 10 points apiece. Clayborn chipped in 8 points and senior center and captain Alecia Cooley added 5 points in the victory.
“Erin did a nice job of getting the ball in the middle and we finally got Alecia some touches [in the second half],” said Whitefield. “She was getting a little frustrated. I think her ankle is still bothering her a little bit, as she didn’t have that usual explosion, but [in the second half ] she got some rebounds and got some loose balls down the stretch.”
The coach added, “Dashae, she loves the fourth quarter and she came up big. And the twins [Sierra and Seara Clayborn] made some shots. [It was a] much better second half. GBS is a tough team to play, with their size and the zone that they sit in. Everybody pitched in. GBS is a good team with a great coach so it was a good win for us.”
Coach Whitefield was also pleased with his team’s defensive performance, but said he realizes the offense will have to play better, especially with Regionals right around the corner.
“Positioning-wise and with our rotation, the defense in the second half was outstanding. The first half was good. They scored 16 points [in the first half] and anytime you hold a team under 40 points, you are giving yourself a chance to win,” said Coach Whitefield. “We are going to have to play better offensively, but if we have that defensive effort when we go against Maine South or whoever else in the future, I like our chances.”
Next up on Friday night, the Kits take on another CSL South foe, Maine South, followed by the MLK Dream Classic on Jan.21.
“Maine South … are very good. We played them over here and they were not happy with the way they played [Dec. 4, 2012; the Kits won 52-34],” said the Coach. “Defensively we played pretty well. So they will be ready to go. We are going to have to play with the same kind of defensive intensity that we did here but I think we match up well with Maine South, so it should be fun.”