Balanced scoring, defensive adjustments aid Kits in Sectional semifinal victory

Chris Werner, Sports Editor

The last time Evanston and Loyola met on the Beardsley gym floor, the contest went down to the final seconds and the Ramblers came away with a 48-45 win.

That’s not what happened on Monday night in the second Evanston Sectional semifinal game of the night.

Loyola started fast and had a 17-14 lead in the second quarter but the Ramblers wouldn’t score again for the next nine minutes and would never lead again.

The Kits’ defensive game plan was different than the one they used previously against Loyola and it confused the Ramblers.

ETHS held Loyola’s two best players, St. Louis University bound senior point guard Julia Martinez and junior forward Celia Satter to a combined 19 points after Satter scored 14 of her own the first time the two teams met back in December.

“We followed the game plan to perfection and we really gave Loyola problems tonight,” head coach Brittanny Johnson said. “Leading up to the Maine South game (regional finals) I think they changed their mindset on defense. They thought about it more in terms of 1-on-1 defense, but now they’re playing legit team defense. We changed the way we defended Martinez so she couldn’t get to the basket at will, we stepped into the gaps and we didn’t let her get to the basket.”

Senior forward SyAnn Holmes had the tough task of defending Satter for most of the night and only allowed her one field goal.

“SyAnn did an amazing job on Satter, a Division I player who’s an incredible scorer,” Johnson said. “She literally didn’t let Satter do what she wanted to do. It was great to see a senior step up and be great in big moments like that.”

Apart from shutting down Satter, Holmes contributed 9 points to another balanced scoring effort by Evanston as junior guard Jayla Turchin finished with 12 and junior center Ambrea Gentle and junior guard Tyler Mayne scored 10 apiece.

Next on the road to State for the Kits are the unbeaten Maine West Warriors on Thursday night in the Sectional final. The Warriors are 31-0 on the year and have already beaten ETHS twice this season by margins of 24 and 16 points.

“They’re just a really good team,” Johnson said. “They’re undefeated for a reason. Especially at this stage in the season, this game will be about who’s going to go out and make plays. You can throw the offense and defense out the window, it’s about making plays.”

The winner of Thursday’s matchup will play the winner of the Libertyville Sectional for a chance to reach the final four.