Evanston falls to Maine South

From ETHS Sports Information:

For two and a half quarters Friday night in Park Ridge, Evanston’s basketball team had defending conference champion Maine South right where the Wildkits wanted them.

But the Hawks owned the last 10 minutes and handed the Kits their first Central Suburban League South division defeat by a 56-47 margin despite a game-high 25 points by Evanston sophomore Nojel Eastern.

Photo: Nic Summers / Sun-Times Media
Photo: Nic Summers / Sun-Times Media

Two free throws by Eastern with 2:05 left in the third period staked the visitors to a 32-27 advantage. But Maine South (7-1 overall, 2-1 CSL South) answered with a 9-2 run and took the lead for good when George Sargeant sank two free throws after being fouled at the third quarter buzzer.

Six transition points at the start of the final period helped the Hawks pull away and they sealed the win by converting 10-of-11 at the free throw line in the fourth quarter.

Evanston dropped to 6-3 and 2-1, respectively, after a strong defensive effort in the first half.

“We gave them too many easy points in the second half,” said Evanston coach Mike Ellis. “They’re hard enough to guard in their halfcourt sets, but we had some turnovers up top that gave them some transition points. Six points (in that stretch) is like giving up 12 when you’re playing against Maine South. We also didn’t get back on defense. You can’t give them that many free points.

“We were solid on defense in the first half. But we turned the ball over on our first two possessions in the second half and that set the tone, even though we didn’t give up the lead then. We didn’t come out as aggressive as we did in the first half, and that was telling.”

Eastern connected on 9-of-18 field goal attempts — 4-of-10 from 3-point range — and added 4 rebounds, 2 blocked shots and 2 steals. But the rest of the squad shot just 9-of-24 among the 10 others who earned playing time.

“We need more than Nojel to step up for us,” Ellis said. “We need our veterans to step up. Not everybody played up to their capabilities tonight.”

Author: Jesse Kramer

Jesse Kramer is the founder of The Catch and Shoot. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He has had work featured on SI.com, College Insider, The Comeback/Awful Announcing, and 247Sports.

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