Louis Lesmond may not be as comfortable playing in a new backyard now, but the French import is getting there.
Lesmond, who moved here from France, scored 16 points in just his second basketball game in an Evanston uniform Wednesday night at the St. Viator Thanksgiving Tournament.
Lesmond, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, joined Ryan Bost (19 points) and Lance Jones (15) in double figures as the Wildkits buried Libertyville 85-51 and improved to 2-0 on the season.
The round-robin tournament concludes with a 5 p.m. matchup Friday against Prospect and a 3 p.m. Saturday date with host St. Viator.
“I know he was disappointed with the way we played in the first game, not because he made any mistakes, but because he knows he can impact each possession more than he did,” said ETHS head coach Mike Ellis. “So it was great to see him bounce back tonight. He’s a better player than he showed in that first game. Tonight he showed what type of competitor he is.
“We’ve treated him as just another new player coming in (half the varsity roster is new in 2018-19) and I know he doesn’t want any special attention. He’s probably not as comfortable now as he would be playing in his own backyard (in France), but I think the other guys are doing a great job of figuring out what makes him tick. He has a high IQ and he understands the game very well for a sophomore. This is a whole new pace of game for him, a whole new system, but he has the skill set and the foundation to succeed.”
Lesmond’s stat line showed 6-of-9 shooting from the floor — including a pair of 3-point baskets — along with 2 steals, 1 assist and a rebound. He came off the bench along with Bost and Jones for the second straight night, a dynamic that will change once those two seniors work back into playing shape after being sidelined by injuries.
Jaheim Holden, Jones and sophomore Itchy Holden combined for 16 assists and overall the Wildkits dished out 25 assists among their 33 field goals on a night where they shot 58 percent (33-of-57) against Libertyville (0-3).
“We shared the ball pretty well on both nights,” Ellis pointed out. “They’re a fun team to coach because they recognize that everyone out there has the potential to have a breakout performance for us. We want to get the best shot we can each time down the floor, and they’re doing a great job of recognizing that.
“We’re hard to guard when we have that kind of balance.”
Evanston broke out to a 22-8 lead and never looked back, building leads of 44-27 at halftime and 64-38 after three quarters. Libertyville did close to within 48-36 with six minutes left in the third quarter, only to see the winners respond with a run of 12 straight points that delivered a knockout punch.
Jaheim Holden’s old-fashioned 3-point play started that surge, Jones and Lesmond added fast-break buckets, Bost drilled a 3-point shot in transition and Holden also netted a pair of free throws in that decisive run.