Boys’ basketball takes first loss following poor shooting night

With loss to Glenbrook South, Evanston’s spot in Clash of Champions on the line

Eli Cohen, Executive Editor

It was a tale of two halves in Beardsley Gym last night.

After ending the first two quarters up 29-25, Evanston appeared to have found a way to contain Glenbrook South’s offense, as quality shots were a luxury for the Titans. However, GBS looked like a completely different team in the second half, outplaying ETHS in almost every facet of the game, where an 11-2 run late in the third quarter led to GBS’s 61-55 victory, handing the Kits their first loss in over a year.

“We were good [defensively] for two quarters. We had them down to 25 at half; they average 70 a game. But in the second half, they just came out and took it to us,” Evanston coach Mike Ellis said. “We just have to be tougher. I thought [GBS] played with more poise and toughness. They came into our backyard and outplayed us with that poise and toughness, especially in the last two quarters.”

The toughness of GBS (11-0) was evident on the glassthe Titans snagged three offensive rebounds in the first two minutes of the game, and that mark was indicative of how the final 30 minutes would play out. However, the disparity amongst the two teams’ physicality wasn’t the most glaring concern for the Kits (8-1); that proved to be senior Blake Peters’ cold spell from beyond the arc.

Peters has made a name for himself beyond the arc; the Princeton signee shot 45 percent from downtown in his sophomore campaign and has established himself as one of the best shooters in the state. But yesterday, Peters failed to sink a single triple, missing all eight of his three-point attempts. In the Kits’ last three contests, he has only made one three. The only Wildkit to make a three-pointer last night was senior Daeshawn Hemphill, who made both of his two attempts.

The loss means the Kits are out of the driver’s seat in terms of the Chipotle Clash of Champions, and must fight to re-enter it. 

On Feb. 15, it was announced that there would be an eight team end-of-season tournament—the aforementioned Clash of Champions—and Evanston was invited. With no state playoff, the senior-heavy Kits would have this as a consolation prize, with the chance to battle it out with the state’s best. Despite getting the invite, Ellis made the decision to put ETHS’ spot up for grabs, giving it to the winner of the Central Suburban League.

Because of that choice and last night’s loss, Evanston finds itself in a must-win game today, the second game of back-to-back with GBS.

 In order to win today, the Kits will have to take the lid off the basket. Peters, who tallied 24 points yesterday due to shooting 10-of-14 from inside the arc, will need to get out of his cold slump, and more than one player has to sink a triple. If a few of those shots fell, the game would have been entirely different.

We rely on Blake to score, so, as a coach, you’re just saying it’s going to happen the next game,” Ellis explained. “You’re not doing anything different; you’re just going to continue to put it in his hands to get that opportunity.”

While Peters will have to sharpen up, if fellow senior guard Elijah Bull can pick up where he left off yesterday, the Kits should be confident. Bull, who put up 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting, played efficiently and effectively on both sides of the ball, snagging a game-high four steals.

Elijah has been playing the hardest out of anyone every game this season. He’s got a tough responsibility in checking the other team’s playmaker at the point, as well as running our offense. Elijah really puts in a lot of effort,” Ellis said.

The Kits-Titans rematch tips-off at 2 p.m., and fans can tune in for free with this link.

Note: Make sure to follow our Twitter, @TheEvanstonian, where executive editor Eli Cohen will be live tweeting the game with updates and analysis. He will also be live tweeting the girls game, which is another GBS rematch, which looks to be a good one as the Kits edged out the Titans 57-52 last night.