The Evanston Township High School boys basketball team finished last season with an overall record of 20-9 but unfortunately lost in the Sectional semifinals. This season, the Wildkits hope to use that experience to their advantage to get there again or farther in 2015-16.
“We won the Regional last year and lost in the Sectional so we have to make sure we come out with a little more sense of urgency than we did this past season,” said head coach Mike Ellis. “So that experience was great for a lot of guys who played, they were sophomores and juniors – and to get to that Sectional game and to be able to see what it takes to keep on advancing… Time will tell if we learned those lessons or not.”
But before the Kits can talk about the postseason, they will have to get through the regular season first, which is why Coach Ellis is having his team take a one-day-at-a-time approach. “The goal is to try to keep getting better day by day and hopefully that puts us playing our best basketball at the end of the season,” he said.
When asked which players he is counting on to carry the load this season, Ellis said, “There are quite a few. Right now there are probably a dozen guys that we are looking at that could be in the starting lineup or [players that can play every minute].” The Coach continued, “Obviously junior Nojel Eastern coming back is a big help. We also had a lot of guys step up last season and now this season with Tray Marshall, Micquel Roseman, Dylan Mulvihill, and Charlie Maxwell. Those are four seniors who have come in to their senior years dedicated and I think that has caught on with some of the underclassmen.”
Coach Ellis also said the keys to success will be playing solid defense and rebounding the basketball. “Those are two things that are going to determine the outcome of a lot of the games that we play this year with our strength of schedule,” the Coach said. “We play an extremely difficult and challenging schedule and in order to compete against some of the best teams in the state, we are going to have to defend, get stops and rebound against teams with more size than us.”
The Kits begin the season on Nov. 23 against Mt. Carmel as part of the Battle of the Bridge Thanksgiving tournament at DePaul Prep. That tournament runs Nov. 23- 27. After the tournament, the Kits take on Morgan Park on Dec. 5, followed by Waukegan on Dec. 8, Niles West on Dec. 11, and archrival New Trier on Dec. 16. From there, they participate in the King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic tournament beginning on Dec. 18 at Fairdale High School.
Other key matchups include a game against Whitney Young on Jan. 23, the War on the Shore against St. Ignatius on Jan. 30 and the City Suburban Showdown against Simeon on Feb. 20. But when asked which games or tournaments he is looking forward to, Coach Ellis said he is solely focused on the Kits’ first opponent.
“The only game I am focused on is Mount Carmel. That is our first game of the season as part of the Thanksgiving tournament. Last year, in that same Battle of the Bridge tournament, we made it to the championship game and were beat by Notre Dame. So hopefully we get an opportunity to show up and perform a little better this year,” Coach Ellis said.
The Kits hope that goes for the entire regular season and postseason as well.