Boys basketball loses tightly contested regional final to Titans


Isa de los Reyes

Senior Prince Adams in a Jan. 27 contest. Adams finished the IHSA regional final on Feb. 25 with 11 points.

Owen Chiss

HOFFMAN ESTATES, ILL. – A back-and-forth affair with Glenbrook South for nearly all four quarters, boys basketball’s IHSA regional final contest was decided in the final two minutes.

Foul shots were the deciding factor in a 47-43 loss for Evanston in the IHSA regional finals on Friday night at Conant High School. 

After Glenbrook South’s Gaven Marr dropped in an easy layup to tie the game up at 41 with less than two minutes to play, the free throw woes suddenly hit the Kits. 

On the next possession, senior Prince Adams was fouled while shooting but missed both opportunities at the line. Following an empty trip for the Titans (25-8), senior Hunter Duncan clanked the front end of a one-and-one. After the Titans’ Nick Taylor went one for two at the charity stripe on the ensuing possession, Evanston (24-9) was finally able to cash in at the line, with senior Ephraim Chase knocking down two huge free throws to go up 43-42 with 1:23 left in the game. Taylor drained two more to go up 44-43 with 34 seconds remaining. 

Evanston looked to get to the basket quickly on the next possession, but Adams’ drive into the lane ended with a charge, turning the ball right back to the Titans and fouling Adams out of the game.. South’s Anestis Hadjistamoulou hit the first to go up 45-43 but missed the second, giving the Kits an opportunity to tie or take the lead in the final seconds. 

Coach Mike Ellis opted to not use his final timeout, which gave Duncan the chance to drive into the lane. He drew a blocking foul with nine seconds left, sending him to the free-throw line for a one-and-one. The Titans’ ability to keep fouls to a minimum paid off late, as the Kits were only in the single bonus for the final minutes of the fourth quarter. 

As the GBS student section yelled and banged their feet against the bleachers, Duncan missed his first free throw just short off the front of the rim. The Titans rebounded and were fouled immediately—putting the game away with two made free throws with five seconds left to go up four. Evanston shot just 50 percent from the stripe in the fourth quarter, going 5-for-10.

The first half was a struggle on the offensive end for Evanston, who missed a handful of close buckets and easy layups in the paint. The Kits were only able to squeeze out 17 points in the first two quarters but found themselves only down three at halftime, managing to stay in the game due to their full-court pressure on defense. 

Evanston came flying out to a quick start in the third, leading 27-22 midway through the third, but Taylor, who finished with 20 on the night, kept the sectional No. 4 seed Titans in the game. Following an injury midway through the second quarter to star guard Rodell Davis Jr, GBS point guard Nate Kasher filled his void on offense in a major way, dropping 13 points. Adams led all Evanston scorers with 11 points.

With the loss, Evanston’s 24-9 season has come to a close. It’s safe to say the Kits are going to look like a much different team next season, as eleven seniors will graduate at the end of the year. 

Glenbrook South will meet No. 1 seeded New Trier in the sectional semifinals in Northfield on Tuesday.