High school basketball shootout events were originally created to match teams that might not ordinarily have been able to schedule each other.
Those events also served the dual purpose of showcasing individual players who might draw the notice of a college coach or two with a scholarship available.
Shootouts have been a regular part of Evanston’s schedule over the last 10 years. But the Wildkits didn’t exactly put their best foot forward as a team at Saturday’s War On The Shore at Loyola Academy.
Another subpar offensive showing resulted in a 54-38 loss to Lake Forest, although categorizing the offense as subpar might be an inaccurate description. The Wildkits aren’t just in a slump offensively – they’ve been in a deep hole most of the month of January and have split their last 10 games overall.
On Jan. 29, Evanston shot a mere 6-for-30 – that’s 20% if you do the math – over the first three quarters. The final numbers (13-of-44 for 30%) were only slightly more respectable because ETHS scored 15 points in the last 3½ minutes of a game that was already decided.
Evanston, now 15-8 on the season, was paced by David Gieser and Rashawn Bost with 8 points apiece. The Wildkits limited Lake Forest star Asa Thomas to just 7 points, but couldn’t contain Alex Forowycz (19 points) or Tommy Aberle (12 points, 10 rebounds) as the Scouts improved to 18-6.
The Kits trailed 25-13 at halftime and 43-19 after three quarters.
“Seven points, 6 points and 6 points [in the first three quarters], that’s a real lack of production,” acknowledged Evanston head coach Mike Ellis. “We have a ton of nice kids on this team who represent their high school and their community, but we let the Evanston community down with the way we performed today. Sometimes you find being nice and with some self-pity in some instances, that brings a lack of production.
“We just didn’t have the willingness to compete, and that’s what sports are all about. We have Senior Night coming up Tuesday [against Maine South] and two big games against New Trier after that. We have the ability to beat any of the teams in our sectional, but we have to play for the right reasons.”
The Wildkits scored just one field goal – on a steal by Bost – in the first 7 minutes of the game, before a pair of buckets by freshman Yaris Irby (7 points) pulled them within 12-7 at the first-quarter stop.
ETHS never got any closer and only scored one field goal in the second quarter, a 3-point shot by Gieser after the Scouts had already stretched the lead to double figures.
Evanston’s participation in the 12th annual event helps raise funds for the Danny Did Foundation, an organization that raises funds for epilepsy research.