Jonah Ross came close to setting Evanston’s school record for 3-point baskets Tuesday night.

But a swollen knee trumped a hot hand at Beardsley Gymnasium.

The Evanston senior guard fired in seven straight 3-point shots in the first half of a 92-28 slaughter of Lake View on his way to a career-high 26 points. But he only played about 30 seconds in the second half of a rout where 13 different players scored for the winners.

It was a mutual decision between Ross and the ETHS coaching staff after the guard injured his knee in a loss at Glenbrook South last week. And the risk-reward choice was an obvious one with a big game against Central Suburban League South division co-leader Glenbrook North on tap Friday night for the Wildkits.

Evanston’s Jonah Ross celebrates during Evanston’s 61-59 win over Glenbrook South at Beardsley Gym on Friday, Dec. 2. (Credit: Michael Kellams/thatphotodad.com) Credit: Michael Kellams/thatphotodad.com

Ross was ready to challenge the school’s single game record of nine buckets from beyond the 3-point arc, a record set by Scott Horne against Niles West back in 2001 and matched by the school’s career leader, Blake Peters, in 2019 against Maine South. Ross did start the second half but exited after the first ETHS possession and didn’t return to the floor again after the hosts built a 56-19 halftime lead.

“I didn’t even know what the record was until the coaches told me at halftime,” said Ross, who also sank seven 3-pointers earlier this year in games versus St. Viator and Dubuque Hempstead. “I only needed three more, and absolutely, I knew I could get it. But my knee is still swollen – I’m only about 90% right now – and I told them they should give everyone else a chance, because they work hard and they deserve to play.

“I just love shooting in Beardsley Gym. I work out here every morning. When you get it going like I did tonight, the basket seems really big. It’s a good feeling when you get it going like that.”

Against a Chicago Public Schools squad that consisted mostly of freshmen and sophomores, Evanston shot 65% (37-of-57) from the field and counted 29 assists on those 37 baskets while improving to 16-6 on the season.

The 92 points marked a season high for the winners, even though no one besides Ross scored in double figures in the running clock (no) contest. Lake View fell to 6-16 overall.

Evanston head coach Mike Ellis was aware that Ross was chasing the record, but he also didn’t want to risk the senior’s health for the stretch run of the season.

“Jonah wasn’t 100% and it wasn’t worth going for that 3-point record tonight,” said Ellis. “I feel bad for him that he’s still dealing with that tender knee. But I’ve never been one to artificially put players in position to break school records.

“We’ve been fortunate to coach some good 3-point shooters here. We tell them when they have the confidence, and they have the statistics to back it up, that sometimes a 3-pointer IS a layup for them. That’s a high percentage shot for shooters like that.”

Ross connected on seven straight shots from different spots on the floor, and his confidence seemed to grow with each attempt. He could be detected feeling for the 3-point line and backing up on some of those attempts, the telltale sign that a 3-point shooter is in the zone.

He also contributed a team-high five rebounds, three steals and three assists in one of his best all-around performances of the season.

Next best for the Wildkits were Malachi Barrett and Theo Rocca, each with 9 points, and Jonathan Maerklin, Morgan Brown and Josh Thomas with 8 points apiece. Hunter Duncan chalked up 7 assists in just 14 minutes of playing time.

Rocca, fellow sophomore Ian Peters and Maerklin all earned their first varsity starts for the lopsided matchup. Rocca tossed in a pair of 3-point shots of his own in the first quarter, helping the Wildkits bury the Wildcats by a 24-8 margin after the first quarter.

Lake View committed 20 turnovers and was led by Ayden Reed with 12 points.  

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