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Less than 24 hours after eking out an overtime win over Glenbrook North, the Wildkits saw a fourth quarter rally fall short Saturday at the 12th annual Team Rose Shootout at Mount Carmel High School and dropped a 50-48 decision to Bloom.
Evanston (6-2) trailed by 13 points with 6 minutes remaining, and pulled to within 47-45 with 1:57 left on the clock on a putback by Prince Adams (14 points, 8 rebounds). But the Blazing Trojans (6-2) held on despite missing 5 free throws down the stretch and a 3-pointer by Rashawn Bost (14 points, 6 assists, 3 steals) just before the buzzer accounted for the final margin.
The losers turned the ball over 17 times and for the second night in a row they were their own worst enemies, this time against a beatable Bloom squad that was led by Raeshom Harris’ 15 points.
“We won a game we shouldn’t have won yesterday, and we lost a game we should have lost today,” summed up ETHS head coach Mike Ellis. “I’m not excited about the way we’re playing right now. We have to play through each other more and be willing to do the little things that don’t show up in the box score but make it easier for our teammates to score.
“I just felt we were spectating and ball-watching too much today, waiting for the other guy to make a play. Again in this game all those turnovers were huge — unforced turnovers, illegal screens, traveling and throwing the ball into the bleachers. That’s two nights in a row that we’ve had twice as many turnovers as our opponents. That’s hard to overcome.”
The Wildkits almost did it, however. Evanston turned up the fullcourt pressure after a third quarter run of 14 unanswered points put Bloom on top 41-30 at the end of the period. The Wildkits connected on only 3-of-12 field goal attempts when they weren’t turning the ball over, and for the game converted 41 percent (20-of-49).
To make a comeback even more unlikely, top 3-point shooter David Gieser (13 points) fouled out with 5 minutes left in the contest.
“I did think our guys did a nice job of not giving up,” said Ellis. “But the game wasn’t won in the first quarter and we didn’t play 32 minutes today. We just need to understand some of the concepts of the game better. We need to make the simple plays. We have guys who are going too fast with the basketball, and not fast enough without it. We just have to take advantage of plays as they unfold for 32 minutes.”
Evanston enjoyed an early lead of 16-9 behind a pair of treys from Gieser. From there, the Kits were stone cold from the field and turned the ball over 8 times in the second period, allowing Bloom to seize a 25-23 lead by halftime. In the final stanza, the Kits were within striking distance down 47-45. Harris split 4 free throw opportunities, but junior guard Jonah Ross missed a 3-point try from the corner and that turned out to be Evanston’s last gasp.