Poise equals points.
That’s the formula that Rashawn Bost and Prince Adams used to lead Evanston’s basketball team to a third straight tournament championship Saturday at the Saint Viator Thanksgiving Classic.
The Wildkits whipped St. Viator 73-59 to complete the round-robin tourney with a perfect 4-0 mark as Bost and Adams each netted 18 points. The pair, expected to be Evanston’s leaders as a couple of the few experienced players on the roster, only combined for a single field goal in the first quarter before helping ETHS pull away after that.
Adams scored a career-high 18 points while also grabbing 10 rebounds and contributing 3 blocked shots. Bost added 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field, and forward David Gieser also tallied 12 points for the winners.
Much of Evanston’s offense came in a freelance style of play, rather than off of set options against St. Viator’s scrambling high-pressure defense. Evanston led 15-12 at the first quarter stop, then outscored the Lions 20-6 in the second period to take control.
“We can play slow and we can play fast,” said Evanston head coach Mike Ellis. “That goes to our versatility with all of our players. Sometimes you have to give them the freedom to just go out and play basketball, especially against a team like this.
“I like the poise Rashawn and Prince played with. We didn’t play our best basketball to start the game, but we didn’t panic and say uh-oh, and we’re in the home team’s gym, too. We didn’t let any of that carry over to the next possession. We stayed in the moment and just kept playing against a team that pressures you and tries to speed you up and short circuit what you want to do.
“What I liked most about the entire tournament was that we played better each night. That’s all we’re trying to do for the rest of the season, and to see that show through on the floor was good to see.”
Even though Evanston won its first three games, both Bost and Adams got off to slow starts as the players facing the most pressure to succeed in the program. “But it’s their poise, not their points, that impressed me,” Ellis said. “Everyone on this team has a chance to be a better leader and we really need unity and leadership so we can all get on the same page.
“We’re all looking to get pointed in the same direction. That was definitely Rashawn’s best game of the year. The first couple of games, he didn’t get into a rhythm, but I’m not worried about one of our best players.”
Senior guard Aidan Maher scored 5 important points in the third quarter as part of Evanston’s surge to a 53-36 advantage entering the final period. The Lions never got closer than 13 points in the fourth quarter despite 17 points from Hunter Duncan.
The Wildkits shot 61% (30-of-49) from the field and outrebounded the losers by a 31-18 margin.
Evanston has now won 20 of 21 games at the St. Viator event since joining the tournament field back in 2016. Their only loss came against Conant in 2017.