The Evanston Township High School boys basketball team looked to begin the season on the right foot with a strong showing in the St. Viator Thanksgiving tournament which was held Nov. 20-25. The Wildkits did just that as they won three of their four games in the tournament.
On Nov. 20, the Kits took on Highland Park in the opening round and prevailed by a score of 61-58. In that game, the Kits forced five turnovers in the fourth quarter and held Highland Park to just three points in the final three minutes as they earned their first victory of the year. Junior Lance Jones led the offensive attack with 21 points.
From there, the Kits made it two wins in a row when they beat Prospect on Nov. 21 by a score of 63-58. Leading the way for the Kits was Lance, who once again tallied 21, along with junior Jaheim Holden, who added 19, and freshman Blake Peters chipped in three three-pointers in the fourth quarter to help secure the victory.
The Kits looked to make it three victories in a row when they took on Conant on Nov. 24, but that was unfortunately not in the cards, as they fell by a score of 61-54. The Kits’ leading scorers in that game included Blake, who scored 15, and Jaheim, who added 13 in the loss.
After the Conant game, the Kits took on Libertyville on Nov. 25 and were able to get back into the win column as they won by an 85-75 tally. The Kits used career high scoring efforts from four players – Jaheim with 26 points, Lance with 23, Blake with 16 and freshman Jaylin Gibson chipping in 10 – to help earn the victory.
“I thought we did a good job rebounding from the Conant game, showing up ready to play,” said head coach Mike Ellis regarding his team’s performance against Libertyville. “That is four games in a row where we have gotten off to good starts, so I think that is something that we can build off of going forward.”
The victory marked the 300th for Coach Ellis in his coaching career and improved the Kits’ overall record to 3-1 as they finished the tournament in third place. “[The tournament was] up and down,” said the Coach. “I thought there were some really good things that we saw from our team and there were some things that we need to get back in the gym this week and really work on. So, we are anxious to get back in there and fine tune some things. But I feel like there is a lot that we can grow from and improve on.”
By winning three of the first four games of the season, the Kits are certainly off to a strong start. But Coach Ellis feels the Kits will have to play better on defense to ensure they keep up this solid level of play the rest of the season. “We just have to be more consistent on the defensive end. So that is the main thing, to build some consistency on defense,” explained the Coach. “I think we have a lot of ways to score on offense and I do not foresee offense being a problem for us this season. It is going to be about growing up defensively for us to go where we want to go this season.”
Next up, the Kits were set to take on Glenbrook South Nov. 30 at Beardsley Gym in Evanston. From there, they visit Maine South on Dec. 8. Regarding the Glenbrook South matchup, Coach Ellis said, “They have a new coach and a new system so I do not know much about them. But I expect it to be an exciting evening and an electric atmosphere with all the new additions and remodeling we did [to Beardsley Gym],so it will be a new experience for everybody.”