Kits hold off Maine South in overtime win


Jonah Charlton

Senior Lance Jones blows by the Maine South defender on his way to the hoop.

Chris Werner, Sports Editor

Last season, the two games between Maine South and Evanston were decided by a total of five points. On Friday night in Beardsley gym, the Kits and Hawks battled again, and in a game similar to the tight contests last year, 32 minutes wasn’t enough to decide a winner.

The Kits went into halftime with a 13 point lead after coming out of the gate strong. ETHS forced the Hawks into early turnovers and converted them into points on the offensive end. Evanston controlled the pace of the game and sped up the usually methodical Maine South offense.

The Hawks found their legs in the third quarter, outscoring the Kits 14-7 which trimmed Evanston’s lead to six points. During that stretch, senior guard Lance Jones, ETHS’ most consistent offensive option of the night, was on the bench due to foul trouble.

“It was too individual, too much ‘on me’ and not enough playing for your teammates,” coach Mike Ellis said. “We’re the hardest to guard when we get our best shot, when we play through each other.”

Evanston’s struggles continued and the Kits found themselves down 39-35 midway through the final period. Ellis made the decision to put Jones back in, trusting him not to pick up his fifth foul, which would’ve disqualified him for the rest of the game.

“Being able to put Lance back into that game with four minutes to go and not having him on the bench was huge,” Ellis explained. “If Lance fouls out, I don’t know if we win that game.”

With the game knotted at 43, a defensive stop from Evanston with just over eight seconds left gave the Kits had a chance for another buzzer-beater finish, but a three point attempt from Jones bounced off the rim and the game headed to overtime.

In the extra period, senior guard Jahiem Holden took control, scoring 5 of his 11 points. He banked in a three to start the scoring and added a fast break layup after a Blake Peters steal to give Evanston a five point advantage.

But it was the third member of the Kits’ senior backcourt that put the game out of reach for Maine South.

After Evanston got the lead in overtime, the visitors had to begin to foul Evanston to stop the clock and get the ball back. Ryan Bost made four free-throws in a row, after only converting on one field goal attempt in regulation, to effectively seal the win.

“Ryan coming in to knock down those free throws was big,” Ellis said. “Ryan plays with a lot of confidence and swagger. Our execution to get him at the free throw line was good.”

With the win, Evanston improved to 6-1 overall and 1-1 in conference play. Maine South fell to 3-3 and 0-2 in the CSL South.