The Evanston Township High School girls’ basketball team took on archrival New Trier on Feb. 3 in search of their sixth straight victory and the Kits were able to get it as they beat the Trevians 50-44 as part of the Bob Bost Classic event at Beardsley Gym at ETHS.
In that game, after playing to a 7-7 tie after the first quarter, seniors Brianna Miller and Leighah Amori-Wool combined for eight points in the second quarter to help give the Kits a 22-14 lead at the half. Then the Kits extended the lead to 36-23 after senior Krystal Forrester converted a three-point play with four minutes seven seconds left in the third.
But the Trevians did not go down quietly, as they were within seven at 40-33 after three quarters. Fortunately, the Kits went on a 9-0 streak to open the fourth quarter capped off by a three pointer by Leighah with 3 minutes 3 seconds remaining to put the Kits ahead by 16 at 49-33, more than enough, as they held on for the 50-44 victory.
“I thought we played well,” said Head Coach Brittanny Johnson regarding her team’s performance. “We had moments when we did not, but in a game like this where it is a huge rivalry and I think this may have been the first time we have ever played in front of this many people, I thought they responded to it the best that they could.”
The Kits were led in scoring by Leighah, who had 12 points, and Krystal, who tallied 11 points. Senior Allysah Boothe added nine, including five of the Kits’ first seven points to start the game. Regarding Allysah, Coach Johnson said, “She was steady. She takes a lot of pressure from the other teams because she is our primary ball handler. So I thought she made a couple mistakes late, but she has grown so much over the course of the season, and she is somebody we can really depend on.”
The game also featured a capacity crowd, which is unusual for the Kits, said Coach Johnson. But the Coach was pleased with how her team responded to playing in a raucous environment and getting a win. “It is huge. It was fun for me, and I know it is fun for them because we just do not really have that great support,” explained the Coach. “We have our families and our friends who come out to support us, but to have Evanston support us it felt really good.”
With the victory, the Kits improved to 22-3 overall with the postseason fast approaching. When asked what her goals and expectations are for the postseason, Coach Johnson said, “Well, the goal all season has been to get downstate. That is what they want to do, and I think that we have to play a certain way to do that. But we are trying to get better still every game.”
In order for that to happen, Coach Johnson said, “I think that we have to get more post-production. When Leighah, Krystal and [senior] Leah [Robinson] are playing well, we are normally a very good team. And when people are not guarding our kids, we have to hit shots. But I think if we do that, our defense is the key to us getting downstate.”
The Kits were set to take on Trinity on Feb. 8, the day this paper went to press. Heading into that game, Coach Johnson expected it to be an exciting one. “[Trinity has] had kind of the same year we have had, they have played some really good teams, and we are looking forward to it. I think it is going to be a great game. “
After the Trinity game, the Kits finish the regular season against Glenbrook South on Feb. 10. Then they open the IHSA Class 4A Evanston Regionals as the No. 1 seed against the winner of Schurz and Niles North on Feb. 14. Should they win that game, the Kits would play for the Regional title on Feb. 16.