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Friday’s road loss at New Trier certainly made things crystal clear for the Evanston girls basketball team.
The path to a repeat as Central Suburban League South division champions is simple. Now, Coach Brittanny Johnson’s team will probably have to win out.
New Trier applied a 62-40 near-knockout punch and handed the Wildkits, now 11-3 overall, their first league loss. ETHS has a rematch with the Trevians Saturday at Beardsley Gym and will close out the year next weekend with a home-and-home series against a Maine South club that hasn’t lost yet in conference action.
Friday, the visitors fell behind 14-4 at the start and never really challenged the Trevians (9-5, 4-2). Evanston was held without a field goal in the second quarter, missing all 8 shots from the floor, and only got offensive production from Rashele Olantunbosun with 15 points.
The rest of the Wildkits shot a combined 9 of 33 from the field. As a team, the losers committed 20 turnovers, most of the unforced variety.
“We weren’t ready to play tonight, and any time that happens, that’s on me as a coach,” Johnson acknowledged. “Starting on Monday, we had a bad week of practice and against a quality team like New Trier, that’s not gonna cut it. They always take things to another dimension because it’s a rivalry, and I don’t think our younger kids understand that yet.
“We were out of sync all night. We had a lot of confusion with people in different spots on offense. We can’t just lean on two people (Olantunbosun and Lola Lesmond) to score all the time. We need a third scorer because two aren’t enough against good teams like this. People just weren’t looking for their opportunities tonight.
“Now the pressure is on us. We need to go undefeated if we expect to stay in it in the conference. I just hope we have better focus tomorrow.”
The Wildkits did manage to regroup at the end of the first quarter, scoring the last 9 points of the period — 6 by Olantunbosun — to close within 14-13. But New Trier responded with a 7-0 run in the second quarter to take charge, stretching the edge to 27-16 by halftime. The Wildkits mustered just 3 free throws in those decisive 8 minutes.
New Trier placed three players in double figures, led by senior Aiden Casey with 18 points.