After finishing third in the Dundee-Crown Charger Classic Holiday Tournament, the Evanston Township High School girls basketball team looked to carry that momentum into a matchup with St. Charles East on Jan. 4.

Unfortunately, the Wildkits were unable to do so as they fell by a score of 49-44. But the Kits bounced back the next time they took the court, beating Central Suburban League South Conference foe Waukegan 58-22 on Jan. 10. Senior Ashley Smith led the Kits’ scoring attack with 12 points, seven rebounds, and three steals in the victory. Senior Dashae Shumate chipped in 11 points and two assists, while freshman Krystal Forrester added eight points and five rebounds. With the victory, the Kits improved to 13-4 overall and 3-2 in CSL South Conference play.

“It was nice to get contributions from players who do not get significant playing time,” said Head Coach Elliot Whitefield. Regarding Smith’s performance, he said, “Ashley continues to improve both in practice and games. Her effort, energy and athleticism – especially on the defensive end – had given us something we have been missing.” The coach added, “She wanted to know how to get more playing time and I told her she needs to understand her role on this team. She has stepped up and done that.”

After beating Waukegan, the Kits took on Montini, who was ranked No. 4 in a recent Chicago Tribune poll, on Jan. 11 and were defeated 54-26. Regarding his team’s performance in that game, Whitefield said, “We hung with them for a half with two starters missing most of the second quarter. Montini is very talented and have an excellent coach.” He added, “We needed to be at our very best just to be competitive. Hopefully, the team will use this loss as motivation to improve.”

With that loss to Montini, the Kits’ record fell to 13-5 overall. “The season has been up and down. We have won most of the games I expected us to win, but have lost a few, too,” said Whitefield regarding his team’s performance so far this season. “I knew New Trier and Montini would be very tough games, but I did not expect Maine South and Prospect to outwork and out-execute us.”

In order to be successful the rest of the season, Whitefield feels his team leaders need to step up and for every player to accept their roles and execute them. “We need our leaders and best players to work as hard as they can in practices and set an example for the rest of the team. Everyone needs to accept responsibility and understand their roles for us to reach our potential.”

Next up, the Kits take on CSL South Conference foe Niles West on Friday night at Beardsley Gym in Evanston. That game is followed by a non-conference matchup with Oak Park-River Forest on Jan. 21.Then the Kits take on New Trier in the rematch of their Dec. 7 meeting.

Regarding Niles West, Whitefield said, “We just have to play to our level and it would help if we made a few more shots early in the game.”