Elliot Whitefield already has Friday, January 23rd circled on his 2015 basketball calendar.
Why? Because the ETHS girls cage coach can’t wait for the rematch with New Trier, even after the Trevians scored what looked like a convincing 62-43 Central Suburban League South division triumph Tuesday night as part of a basketball doubleheader in Winnetka.
Whitefield believes in his young squad and is only convinced that the Wildkits could be a different — and better — team by the time the two rivals meet again in Beardsley Gym.
“I thought New Trier might come out and kill us tonight with their execution, but they didn’t,” Whitefield said after his team fell to 4-4 overall and 0-2 in league play. “The different tonight was their experience. I leave here thinking that we beat ourselves with our mistakes, that they didn’t beat us. It was a learning experience for us.
“I saw a lot of things I liked. We didn’t hit our free throws (5-of-19) and we didn’t take care of the ball (15 turnovers in the first half). When we throw or lob the ball with no fake first, and team is gonna steal the ball against you. But what it really comes down to is there was one team (New Trier) that knows what it wants to do in all areas of the game, and one that’s still learning (Evanston). We did break their pressure and I was surprised how well our defense was able to get into the passing lanes against them. There were a lot of positives here tonight for us to build on.”
The Wildkits fell behind 38-25 at halftime, connecting on just 4-of-17 field goal attempts, but used a gritty effort from three players — Leighah-Amori Wool, Krystal Forrester and Hanan Richmond — and refused to back down underneath against New Trier’s twin towers, 6-foot-3 junior Jeannie Boehm and 6-2 senior Rachel West.
Boehm was credited with 6 blocked shots and West added 3, but the ETHS trio all reached double figures in defeat. Wool showed the way with 13 points and 7 rebounds, followed by Forrester with 11 points and 7 rebounds and Richmond with 10 points and 9 boards. The losers, however, only shot 31 percent from the field after connecting on 6-of-9 shots in the first quarter.
Haley Greer, a transfer from Deerfield, led four New Trier players in double figures with 14 points.