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The boys and girls basketball teams at Evanston Township High School don’t get many opportunities in a season to play a varsity doubleheader.
And the fact that the girls game Saturday night at Beardsley Gym was the second one of the night seemed to backfire on the Wildkits, who suffered their first loss of the season to arch-rival New Trier in a battle of unbeatens.
Defending Central Suburban League South division champion Evanston surrendered 20 points in the first quarter, and saw a second-half comeback fall short in a 73-64 loss to the Trevians.
Ask ETHS head coach Elliot Whitefield and he’ll suggest that his players got too caught up in the earlier 68-39 victory by the boys squad.
“We just didn’t come out ready to play tonight,” Whitefield said after seeing a seven-game win string snapped. “Our heads were still in the boys game, I think. We were celebrating for them.
“To New Trier’s credit, they outworked us and they deserved to win. They have good players — I know because I’ve coached four or five of them — and they have ability. I know how good they are. It seemed like every time we got a little closer in the second half, they’d make a play. To win the conference now, we’ll probably have to win out, because I don’t see anyone else beating them.
“But like I just told our girls, the games that really matter are the games in February and March. We’ll see how both teams grow in the next couple of months. My bet is on my girls.”
Evanston, now 1-1 in league play, was forced to play catchup after falling behind 20-7 in the first quarter. The deficit was still 13 points at the start of the fourth quarter, before the hosts surged and pulled to within 68-64 on a 3-point basket by Dashae Shumate with 1 minute, 47 seconds remaining in regulation. But the Wildkits didn’t score again.
“We haven’t really been challenged until tonight,” Whitefield said of his team’s perfect start. “Hopefully this is a wakeup call from them. They have to learn from it.”
Seara Clayborn (22 points), Shumate (13 points), Sierra Clayborn (12 points), and Leighah Wool (10 points, 10 rebounds) all reached double figures for the Wildkits. New Trier countered with 16 points, 15 rebounds and 6 blocked shots from 6-foot-3 sophomore center Jeannie Boehm, plus 14 points from Kathryn Pedi and 12 from Alexa Czyzynski.
Evanston ‘s next game is at home next Friday against Glenbrook South at 7:30 p.m.