Following nine seniors graduating after a historic season for ETHS boys basketball last year, head coach Mike Ellis is starting from the ground up with almost a completely new team. As a matter of fact, only four current Wildkits had scored a varsity field goal coming into this season.
With a younger, more inexperienced roster, one could assume that this was going to be a rebuilding year for the Kits. However, after starting the season with a first place finish at the 44th annual St. Viator Thanksgiving Classic, those assumptions have changed.
Strong performances by seniors Rashawn Bost and David Geiser, as well as junior Prince Adams led the Kits to tournament wins over Libertyville, Streamwood, Prospect and St. Viator. Coach Ellis was pleased with his team’s performance, but he recognized that they still had work to do.
“Having the opportunity for our young team to play four games was very valuable. We saw a lot of things, good things, but also stuff that we want to try and improve upon going forward.”
In the season and tournament opener against Libertyville, Freshman Yaris Irby knocked down a huge, last-second, fadeaway layup to give the Wildkits a 53-51 edge over the Wildcats. The next day, the Kits destroyed Streamwood, 95-41. Ellis’ squad then went on to beat Prospect, 54-36, and St. Viator, 73-59 for the tournament championship.
Unfortunately, the Wildkits suffered a rough 70-54 loss on Friday, Dec. 3, to a tough Glenbrook South squad, ranked sixth in Illinois coming into the season by the Chicago Sun Times. The Kits were slow to start the game as Glenbrook South led 25-13 at the end of the first quarter. In fact, much of the team’s struggles could be attributed to the three point shot, as Glenbrook South senior Cooper Noard was able to hit many from downtown early in the game. In response, E-Town made a valiant effort to regain control later in the game, and even cut the lead down to seven points midway through the fourth quarter. The Wildkits were far more successful at limiting threes later in the game, but struggled with preventing offensive rebounds and second chance points.
Despite this loss, the Wildkits redeemed themselves the next day with a huge 64-37 victory on the road over Mundelein. Six days later, they took down Glenbrook North in their home opener, 50-43 in OT, in a very gritty, hard fought win. In a game where the Kits had 21 turnovers and shot 48 percent from the free throw line, a strong bench effort led by senior Isaiah Moore, who finished with 11 points, pushed the Kits to a big win.