Evanston’s girls basketball team opened the 2022-23 season with three starters in street clothes Tuesday.
But head coach Brittanny Johnson wasn’t looking for any excuses after a 46-30 loss to Bolingbrook.
The Wildkits turned the ball over 23 times and only shot 24% from the field, falling behind 21-6 in front of a home crowd at Beardsley Gymnasium and never really recovering.
That leaves Johnson and her staff with plenty of things to work on going forward.
“Games like this are tough,” said Johnson, “but I don’t want to make excuses. Not having everybody did NOT play a part in why we lost tonight.
“We weren’t in a ‘game time’ mindset right from the start and it showed. It took us too long to recognize that and that’s something we need to figure out – together. We did have so many people in spots they’re not used to, but what’s more frustrating to me was that they out-rebounded us. That was embarrassing.”
Bolingbrook, a traditional power in Illinois, is minus some Division I players who transferred out of the program this year and they didn’t start a player over 5-foot-10. That didn’t keep the Raiders from building a 42-30 advantage on the boards as 6-4 Ciara Gentle was one of the ETHS players benched, by an ailing back.
Persais Williams paced the winners with 14 points and 12 rebounds and Jasmine Jones added 7 points and 12 rebounds. Evanston was led by Zuri Ransom and Arianna Milam-Pryor with 9 points apiece, but the rest of the Wildkits only contributed a total of 12 points.
Evanston shot 10-of-42 from the field and only stayed in contention because of a scrappy zone defense that the Raiders couldn’t solve for most of the second half.
The hosts closed the gap to 34-22 by the end of the third quarter, but didn’t score a field goal until the 2 minute, 39 second mark of the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach.
“We have guards who were able to get the ball up the court against their pressure, and I don’t think their pressure hurt us that much,” Johnson said. “But we’re still searching for leadership, someone who will get us organized. We’re capable – we just have to put it all together. Until the last 4 or 5 minutes, I felt like we were really just one run away. We missed a lot of makeable shots, too.”
Evanston resumes action Friday on the road at the Milwaukee Academy of Science.