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Evanston basketball coach Mike Ellis has never been a big fan of the slaughter rule that features a running clock in the fourth quarter of blowout games.
Of course, if that’s the biggest issue the Wildkit boss faces this abbreviated season — finding playing time for everyone on the roster while the clock ticks away — he probably wouldn’t be too upset.
The Kits scored their second straight “running clock” slaughter rule win of the season Friday night in Skokie, burying Niles West 67-27 in the Central Suburban League South division opener for both teams.
With the coronavirus pandemic limiting the number of games and practices this season, it didn’t seem like the right year for the National Federation of High Schools to implement the rule. Time only stops when coaches call timeouts — or for an injury — after the margin reaches 30 points, and twice Friday night Ellis resorted to timeouts to get substitutes into the contest.
Once it was because he didn’t want to see precious seconds wind off the clock while a player was attempting a free throw.
“I don’t like the rule, and I’ve been on both sides of it,” explained the ETHS coach, recalling a 40-point loss at Quincy when he was coaching at Peoria Richwoods. “It’s interesting that it was put back in this year. Maybe it’s to get people out of the gyms earlier. But the people getting penalized are the student-athletes, the guys who practice every day like the starters but only get to play 5 percent of the time.
“What happened tonight? Everyone got out of the gym 5 minutes earlier? I think the intent of the rule actually circumvents what high school sports should be about, and that’s the student-athletes. It’s a chance for some of these kids to put on a uniform and play.
“If a team has a 30-point lead and a coach is selfish enough and foolish enough to try to score a lot beyond that, well, then you’ll get yours one day.”
The Wildkits, who will host West on Saturday as part of the new “back-to-back” schedule in the Central Suburban League, had no difficulty improving to 2-0 on the year after last Tuesday’s scheduled crossover game at Maine West had to be canceled due to a COVID-19 issue there. Isaiah Holden fired in 18 points and Blake Peters tallied 14 for the winners, who converted 10-of-16 field goal attempts in the second quarter to break the game open.
“We showed good patience tonight,” Ellis praised. “I thought the more patient we were, the more productive our offense was. Patience is the key for us so we can utilize our strengths as a team.”
6-foot-7 Ola Ajiboye, a move-in from Chicago who didn’t play in the opener, made his debut for the Kits as a starter and contributed 4 points, 5 rebounds, a blocked shot and a steal.
Niles West shot just 30 percent (11-of-37) from the floor compared to Evanston’s 47 percent (28-of-59).