Evanston’s girls couldn’t quite finish what they started Saturday on the Beardsley Gymnasium basketball court.

A rough fourth quarter proved costly as Milwaukee Academy of Science scored a 56-49 victory over the Wildkits and dropped the hosts to 1-2 on the young season.

Leading 27-26 at halftime, the Kits allowed a 9-0 third-quarter run that enabled the visitors to take the lead for good. Evanston Township High School scored just 4 points in the last 5 minutes, 37 seconds of the game and in the fourth quarter shot just 2-of-14 from the field while turning the ball over seven times in their futile comeback bid.

“Our youth and our inexperience showed in that stretch of the game,” said Evanston head coach Brittanny Johnson. “We just didn’t execute at the end there. This is a journey and I feel like we played better today. We just didn’t make plays. These are teaching moments for us, and we’ll make the adjustments for next time.

“I did feel like we competed well – that’s why it says ‘Compete’ on the back of their [warm-up] shirts, to remind them – and I’m really hoping they’re getting that message.”

Evanston forced 16 turnovers in the first half – and a total of 28 – in another sterling defensive effort. It started in the backcourt, where senior Maggie Farragher made an all-out commitment to remain in front of the Lady Novas’ quicksilver point guard, Beautiful Waheed.

Farragher’s performance stopped the visitors from initiating most of their offensive sets for most of the first half. A 3-point play by sophomore Kailey Starks (team-high 13 points) with 69 seconds left in the half provided the halftime margin for ETHS.

Starks scored again to build the lead to 33-29 early in the third quarter. But the Lady Novas responded with a 9-0 run, capped by Waheed’s 3-point bomb, and edged out to a 44-38 lead after three quarters.

Evanston closed the gap to 46-45 on Zuri Ransom’s free throw at the 5:37 mark. Raheed, however, answered immediately with another 3-point bucket for the winners and the hosts couldn’t find the range on offense the rest of the way.

“We had a lot of shots we just didn’t make. And all of those turnovers were on us, not their defense,” said Johnson. “We just can’t have that.”

Ciara Gentle added 8 points and Ransom netted 5 points to go with 9 rebounds for the losers. The Wisconsin squad placed 3 players in double figures, led by senior Nakiyah Hurst with 19 points and 11 boards.