Boys basketball gears up for third consecutive state run

Gordon Redfield-Gale, Staff Writer

The ETHS boys basketball team is back and ready to make another deep postseason run under a tried-and-tested recipe for success and the leadership of their tremendous group of juniors.

The squad graduated three of their top players last season. Although it seemed like the team would struggle to reach the level of play from past two winters, they are once again one of the top teams in the state heading into March.

The success thus far is a testament to the talent of the players. They have executed Coach Mike Ellis’ blueprint with superb discipline. That blueprint? Run the floor and play as a team.

“We might not have much height, but if we are aggressive in setting the tempo of the game, the taller teams won’t be able to compete with us,” junior Blake Peters explained.

This game plan has worked to perfection for the Kits in prior seasons. Combine that with this year’s ability to rely on a multitude of capable scorers, and the state championship potential is there.

“Each starter had their runs during the season, and they’ve all shown that they can contribute,” senior DeVaughn Bell said. “I think that everybody will step up now.”

With a starting lineup composed entirely of juniors that have been a part of runs downstate before, the team knows what it takes to succeed even with the elevated intensity of the postseason. Combine this with an impressive resume that includes victories against Niles North, Niles Notre Dame, Bloom and Hamilton and this team has more than enough experience to make another trip down to Peoria.

“We’re hungry for that state championship, but we’ll take it one game at a time,” Peters said. “We’ve gone third, second and
now we want [to be number] one.”

The Kits will kick off their postseason at Maine East, Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Regional Semifinals.