The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

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Marin Ubersox, In-Depth Editor • February 22, 2024
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Defense leads the way in boys basketball win over Deerfield

Evanston Township High School picks up first conference victory of season in low-scoring affair
Defense+leads+the+way+in+boys+basketball+win+over+Deerfield
Ryan Wambo

After facing off on Friday night for the first time in six years, Evanston welcomed Deerfield to the CSL South by showing the Warriors what a defensive clinic looks like.

The Kits’ man-to-man defense forced constant pressure on the Warriors and trapped the Deerfield offense all night long, leading Evanston to secure its first conference victory in a 39-34 win on the road.

Off the tip, both teams struggled to get going offensively, made in part by strong defense from both squads. When the first quarter buzzer sounded, the Kits led, 11-3. Senior Brandon Watson lit a spark on both sides of the ball, grabbing steals and hitting cutting teammates along with his several baskets to give the Kits an 18-12 halftime edge over the Warriors.

“I thought we had good looks. We were really patient,” head coach Mike Ellis said. “When you play defense like that, you can afford to be patient on offense. But on the other hand, we didn’t take any bad shots. Our guys didn’t force things.”

The Kits continued to add pressure on the defensive side of the ball in the second half, while junior Theo Rocca complemented stops by being a big contributor on the offensive side, hitting multiple three-point plays for the visitors. Despite the loud environment and roaring Deerfield student section, Evanston extended their lead to sixteen going into the fourth quarter. 

But as the final eight minutes were underway, the Warriors had plans to spoil their defensive schemes and added a run of their own, bringing Evanston’s lead to only four points late in the game, with the Kits up 38-34. However, Rocca and senior Antoine Thomas controlled the pace late in the fourth and hit a couple clutch free throws to put away the Warriors.

“I hope our players felt the way I did. This is what high school sports are all about,” Ellis said. You want to compete, play in other people’s gyms and win on the road. Our first four games were all neutral sites. Anytime you can play in someone else’s house and come out playing well, those are a little more special.” 

Evanston will turn around quickly to face La Lumiere in the Kits’ home opener on Saturday, Dec. 2 at 3:00 p.m.

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