Rashawn Bost didn’t get to play major minutes Friday night just because his last name is Bost.
But somewhere his grandfather was smiling down on Beardsley Gym.
Bost broke loose for a career best 10 points to help decide the defensive duel with rival New Trier in the second game of the Bob Bost Classic basketball doubleheader that annually honors his late grandfather.
Unbeaten Evanston scored its 7th straight victory, trimming the Trevians 50-40 to maintain their dominance of the rivalry since Mike Ellis took over as head coach.
The Wildkits own the overall advantage in the storied rivalry with 118 wins to New Trier’s 95.
Like most of the members of the ETHS bench, Bost is trying to fight his way into the rotation and certainly didn’t hurt his own cause in front of a near-capacity crowd on Friday. He and Blake Peters (12 points) were the only Wildkits to reach double figures, offsetting a 21-point effort by New Trier’s John Carragher.
Bost, a sophomore guard, responded to the big-game atmosphere of the rivalry after netting just 13 points combined in his first 6 varsity games this year. He nailed back-to-back 3-point shots in the last 2 minutes of the first half, and Jerome Smith added a trey of his own off the bench as the Kits broke open what had been a 1-possession game.
That proved to be just enough offense for the winners, who spread the floor and only netted 6 points in the fourth quarter — but never led by less than the final 10-point margin.
New Trier fell to 3-4 overall and 0-2 in Central Suburban League South division play. Evanston will take a 7-0 overall mark and 2-0 CSL South record into the Team Rose Shootout on Sunday at 4 p.m. at Mount Carmel against two-time Class 2A defending state champion Chicago Orr.
“Our challenge tonight was to make this a guard’s game, instead of letting New Trier’s length make a difference, and I think our guys did a good job of that,” said Ellis. “We did a good job of locking down on defense and holding them under their average for the year, too.
“Rashawn has been struggling a little bit with his shot, but we believe in him. Tonight he really gave us a lift off the bench. It was good to see him make plays like that. For Rashawn to earn minutes, he has to lock in defensively and not be a defensive liability. Being on the varsity is new to him and a lot of the other guys. We’re still in an exploring mode (as a coaching staff) even though we seem to have a clearcut starting 5. We’re trying to find out which of the others is comfortable out on the floor.”
Evanston connected on just 2 of its first 11 3-point field goal attempts and that’s one reason New Trier was able to stay close, until Bost dialed long distance from the right wing — and then the left corner — on consecutive trips down the court. Then Smith’s only bucket of the game pushed what had been a 21-18 lead to 30-20 at the halftime intermission.
Bost was also on the floor for almost the entire fourth quarter, when the Wildkits easily survived even though top guard Jaylin Gibson was on the bench with 3 personal fouls.
“I thought our guys did a good job with their ballhandling and their decision making in the fourth quarter,” said Ellis. “We just knew that New Trier couldn’t hit back-to-back 3-pointers or make a run if we had the ball. Possession of the ball is important, just like in football when you’re trying to keep Tom Brady on the sidelines. We feel we’ve got good guards who can handle it and we weren’t in a hurry. It played right to our advantage to turn this into a guard’s game.”
Ellis also noted that those early 3-point misses weren’t too much a cause for concern.
“We have too many good shooters on this team to worry if 1 or 2 of them is off at first,” said the veteran coach. “I like the depth of our (shooting) talent, and if 1 or 2 of them is off, it won’t necessarily be a weakness for us for all 32 minutes. Those uncontested shots are going to fall, and we won’t tell our good shooters NOT to shoot.”
Evanston connected on 7-of-19 shots from 3-point range and 18-of-40 overall for 45 percent.