Payback was sweet for Evanston’s girls basketball team for the second time in a week.
Just days after celebrating a second chance win over a team they had already lost to this season — Stevenson — the Kits avenged a Thanksgiving tournament loss Saturday night at Beardsley Gym by crushing St. Charles East 56-35.
Coach Elliot Whitefield’s squad limited the Saints to 30 percent shooting from the floor, and in a classic case of creating offense out of stingy defense, reeled off 9 unanswered points to open the second half and break the game open.
Evanston improved to 11-6 on the season behind a balanced effort led by Hanan Richmond (15 points, 4 rebounds), Savannah Norfleet (14 points, 6 rebounds) and Leighah-Amori Wool (13 points, 8 rebounds). Krystal Forrester added 8 points and 6 rebounds for the winners.
St. Charles East (11-5) shot just 13-of-49 from the floor as star point guard Katie Claussner was limited to a mere 4-of-20 effort thanks to the sticky defense applied by Evanston’s Adriana Carter and Briana Miller. Even when Claussner got to the basket, the 5-foot-5 Saints playmaker saw her shots challenged on every trip.
“I thought Briana gave us a huge lift off the bench tonight,” Whitefield said. “She did the best job of defending against Claussner. Our goal was not to let her have any layups tonight and to make her use her right hand whenever possible. At least we had to make her shots difficult, and we did that.
“In the second half St. Charles didn’t seem interested in getting back on defense, so once we got the rebound we had a lot of options down the floor. The kids now are doing a much better job of understanding what their roles are — and when to apply those things.”
Richmond had the hot hand early but the hosts only led 23-17 at the halftime break. The Kits forced four turnovers in the opening minutes of the second half and that triggered the ETHS fast break as Norfleet, Richmond and Wool all scored as part of that 9-0 run.
St. Charles didn’t score a point until the 3:33 mark of the third quarter and fell behind 38-27 after three periods.