Evanston’s basketball team hit Belleville Althoff with a barrage of 3-point baskets in the first half and drilled the Crusaders 86-58 Saturday night in the final game of the Bank of O’Fallon shootout event at O’Fallon High School.
The Wildkits, now 20-3, matched their season high for points as 5 players reached double figures in the rout of the two-time Class 3A Illinois High School Association state champions. ETHS connected on a total of 11 3-point attempts and 6 different players fired in treys in the romp.
Game MVP Chris Hamil sank 3 treys in the first quarter, boosting Evanston to a 21-10 advantage and the Wildkits never looked back. Hamil, Jaheim Holden and Elyjah Williams each scored 13 points and Nojel Eastern and Malcolm Townsel contributed 10 points apiece.
The winners had no trouble finding their shooting legs even after a 6-hour bus ride overnight following an equally lopsided win over New Trier.
“I really didn’t think fatigue would be a problem. I knew guys would sleep on the bus and then we’d just lie around the hotel. We kept it simple and came ready to play. It was a good gym to shoot in — if you look at the scores of the other games here — and our guys were really locked in and ready to perform at their best,” said Evanston coach Mike Ellis.
“All of those 3-pointers were good rhythm shots and they were a by-product of the way we shared the basketball tonight.”
Althoff, which is moving up to Class 4A for the postseason this year due to the IHSA “success factor” standard, was minus star player Jordan Goodwin who had shoulder surgery earlier in the week. The Crusaders (14-7) trailed 43-20 at halftime as Hamil, Townsel and Holden took turns shredding their zone defense with long-range shots.
“Those are probably the two best back-to-back games we’ve played since I’ve been at Evanston,” said Ellis, who is in his 7th season at the helm. “It’s great to get that 20th win against this schedule because it shows that guys have stepped up and met a lot of challenges along the way.
“But we said in the lockerroom tonight that we have to make sure that we’re not satisfied with anything, that we have to continue to get better.”