Fueled by Jerome Bynum’s career-best scoring output, Evanston’s basketball team stayed on top of the Central Suburban League South division standings Friday night with a 65-45 road victory at Waukegan.
Bynum poured in a career-high 19 points, including three straight 3-point baskets in the first quarter, as Evanston improved to 3-1 in conference play and maintained a 3-way tie with Maine South and New Trier for the lead as the race nears the halfway point.
Bynum’s hot start came after the sophomore guard had seen his minutes cut at last week’s Pekin Holiday Tournament. He started the tourney opener against Morton but only played 3 minutes plus in the final game against Pekin.
At Waukegan, Bynum sank 6-of-14 field goal attempts and added a team-high 3 steals. His 3-pointers during a 21-9 first quarter surge by the visitors all came from different spots on the floor against Waukegan’s 2-3 zone defense.
Elijah Henry (11 points, 7 rebounds), Dylan Mulvihill (8 points, 4 rebounds) and Micquel Roseman (8 points, 6 assists) also made major contributions as ETHS moved to 10-5 overall.
Waukegan (4-10, 0-4) was paced by Jachain Taylor-Ford with 14 points. The hosts shot only 41 percent (19-of-46) and turned the ball over 19 times to just 8 for the Wildkits.
“We did a great job of taking care of the basketball and we were able to turn their pressure into some good offense,” said Evanston coach Mike Ellis. “For the most part, I thought we took what their defense gave us. Now that it’s the second half of the season one of the things we’re looking to improve on as a team is our decision making, and we did a good job of that tonight.
“Jerome came out hot and I thought that gave his teammates a lot of confidence, more important than the points he scored. They really fed off each other in the first quarter and it was good to see them playing off one another like that. This week Jerome had one of our better weeks of practice, and he had a great will and mindset. He approached practice with the mindset of trying to get better, and it paid off for him tonight.”
Evanston owned a 35-24 advantage at halftime, but started slow in the third quarter — partly due to missed dunk attempts by both Henry and Elijah Williams — before regrouping to build the lead to 44-35 by the end of the period.
Four free throws by Bynum and a rebound bucket by Henry boosted the lead back to double digits early in the final stanza and the Kits closed out the quarter with another 21-point splurge. “It helps a lot when you can start and finish a game like that, and play pretty decently in between,” Ellis added.