Undefeated boys basketball edges Glenbrook South in CSL opener

Owen Chiss, Assistant Sports Editor

Despite dominating for much of its home opener, boys basketball found itself in serious trouble late in the fourth quarter on Friday night, up only two with Glenbrook South taking possession and just eight seconds remaining.

After Titan junior small forward Nick Taylor’s three-point attempt came up short as the buzzer sounded, the Kits had narrowly edged out a win, 61-59, on Friday night against Glenbrook South to kick off this season’s Central Suburban League slate for the Orange and Blue.

Having led by as much as 14 in the game, Evanston (5-0, 1-0 CSL) fell prey to multiple defensive breakdowns and hot shot-making from the Titans (4-2, 0-1 CSL) as the game turned to the fourth quarter. 

Coach Mike Ellis stressed the importance of needing to close better late in the game.

“The first 26 minutes of the game was some of the best basketball we’ve played all season,” said Ellis. “The last six minutes, though, seemed like everybody was trying to make a play for themselves instead of for each other. That’s where the breakdowns occurred.”

Senior center Prince Adams paced the Kits nicely, finishing with 25 points and adding 5 blocks of his own. This season, Ellis believes there’s a unique fire within Adams that he hasn’t seen before.

“We really believe in Prince. He’s a great basketball player, it’s his senior year, and I’ve just seen a different determination in [him] this year compared to other [seasons],” stated Ellis. “I’m not surprised he’s playing so well.”

The first three quarters of the game were all Evanston, due in part to the effort of junior guard Brandon Watson in his first start of the season at point. Watson finished with nine points and had two critical steals—one leading to a thunderous dunk in the first half by senior Josh Thomas.

“[Brandon’s] intensity was awesome. He set the tone tonight with how hard he played,” said Ellis. “He came up with a lot of steals, made a couple shots, got to the basket to put pressure on them. Brandon to us is definitely part of our starting six.”

With the win, the Kits stayed undefeated on the season, following four wins at the St. Viator Thanksgiving Classic last week. There, Evanston beat Libertyville, St. Viator, Antioch and Prospect to win the tournament for the fifth time in the last six years. 

Ellis emphasized that he’s seen strong development throughout the start of this season, but there’s more discipline that needs to be shown throughout all 32 minutes of the game. 

“We’re working on the discipline part. Guys feel too comfortable thinking things are going to be easy,” said Ellis. “Tonight will be an example of that for us. Going up by 14, we felt like we were going to [run away with it]. Hopefully we learned a lesson tonight that this league is too good to feel like you’re going to win a conference game comfortably.”

Evanston will take on Mundelein today at 4:00 PM, back in Beardsley Gym.