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Two turnovers in the final 10 seconds prevented the Evanston girls basketball team from pulling off the upset of the Central Suburban League South division season Friday night at Beardsley Gym.
Instead, the Wildkits suffered another close loss, this time by a 35-34 margin to 20th ranked Glenbrook South. It marked the second straight defeat for head coach Elliot Whitefield’s squad against a team ranked in the top 20 in the Chicago area.
Evanston fell to 14-9 on the season while GBS improved to 19-3 after South guard Carie Weinman dropped in a short baseline floater with 14 seconds remaining.
Both Wildkit turnovers came after the visitors missed free throws that could have sealed the victory. Weinman misfired at the charity stripe after her game-winning bucket, but stole the ball back at midcourt from Evanston’s Leighah-Amori Wool.
South’s Madison Kane then missed her free throw, but forced a jump ball with Wool and regained possession for GBS. The inbound pass wound up at halfcourt and the Wildkits couldn’t gain possession in time to attempt a final shot.
The losers committed 18 turnovers and shot only 32 percent (14-of-43) from the field, and Whitefield couldn’t even be encouraged by the fact that his team overcame a 10-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter and finally took the lead on a rebound bucket by Krystal Forrester with 29 seconds to play. That basket climaxed a 9-0 run, with Wool contributing two rebound baskets and Hanan Richmond firing in a key 3-point shot.
Wool finished with 12 points and 8 rebounds, but the Kits couldn’t cope when GBS switched to a 1-3-1 zone defense for the entire second half.
“To me the comeback was actually more discouraging, because it showed that we have the ability to play with a certain effort — and we chose not to before that,” Whitefield pointed out. “We made the same mistakes tonight that we made in practice yesterday. All we worked on yesterday was that 1-3-1 and that was exactly what they ran, but you saw how ineffective we were. Those 45 minutes we worked on it were lost.
“GBS made some mistakes because they’re not a great ballhandling team. But they got more offensive rebounds and they got more loose balls, and they played tougher than we did.”
Richmond and Forrester each netted 8 points for the Wildkits, who play at Grayslake North Saturday night. GBS was paced by Ashley Oldshue’s 10 points and 7 rebounds.