For Ryan Bost, the basketball nightmare came last Thursday BEFORE he went to sleep, in the form of an upset loss to Glenbrook South.
“I went 0 for 9 in that game and I’ve never done that before in my life,” said the Evanston senior guard. “Before I went to sleep, I just thought I can’t let this happen again. So even before the shoot-a-round this morning, I came in early to work on my shooting.”
Bost’s ability to re-focus, along with his teammates, powered the Wildkits to a bounce-back 80-64 victory over Uplift Saturday at the Chicago Elite Classic shootout held at Wintrust Arena in Chicago.
Bost dropped in a season-high 24 points in the first three quarters and Lance Jones (18 points, 6 rebounds) and Jaheim Holden (14 points, 4 assists, 2 steals) played major roles in another balanced effort by the senior trio. ETHS improved to 5-1 on the season after handing Uplift (2-1) its first defeat despite 33 points by guard Markese Jacobs.
Jacobs, who will play on the same floor next season for DePaul University, wowed the crowd with his moves to the basket. But he didn’t score a single basket in the entire second quarter when Evanston pulled away to a 41-27 advantage.
“We were a little mad after losing that game,” said Bost, who also contributed 7 rebounds and 4 assists and shot 11-of-18 from the floor, “but as seniors we know we do lose sometimes. But we also know we have to come prepared and focused to every game. We can’t just turn it off and on. Today our focus was much better, and so was the intensity. I think everyone was more locked in.”
ETHS head coach Mike Ellis had a unique perspective on the week on the court.
“I’ve never lost a dog, but after that GBS game I think our guys felt like something similar to when someone leaves the door open and the dog gets out,” Ellis said. “No, you can’t pout about it, and you’re not really mad. You just want to find a solution to the problem.
“A lack of energy was part of the problem against GBS. Any time you don’t play as well as you believe you’re capable of playing, a true competitor just can’t wait for that next game. We had a lot of guys who were anxious to show we can play better than we did.”
Jacobs connected on 11-of-20 field goal attempts but on several occasions was muscled off the ball by the bigger Jones. Jones’ ball denial was also impressive, a big reason the DePaul recruit only attempted 3 shots in the entire second quarter.
“I know he’s athletic and physical,” Jones said, “so my motivation was just to play smart and not reach too much (on defense). I think as a team we tried to lock in more, with better ball movement to try to find the open man.”
“You’re not gonna stop Markese,” added Ellis. “He’s a legit threat to score as soon as he crosses halfcourt. There are really not any holes in his game. It’s his house (Wintrust Arena) and he’ll be a great addition to the DePaul family.”
An opponent that prefers to get up and down the floor — in contrast to Glenbrook South — was just what the Wildkits needed to get back on the winning track. The winners converted 51 percent (31-of-61) of their field goal attempts and also forced 23 turnovers.
Evanston opened the third quarter with a 17-6 run, capped by Itchy Holden’s 3-point bucket, before the Titans scored the last 11 points of the quarter to whittle the lead to 58-44. But the losers never got closer than 10 points the rest of the game.