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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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Starks leads Kits in victory against Warren, snapping 11-game losing streak

Huge second-quarter run propels Evanston to blowout victory in non-conference bout
Starks+leads+Kits+in+victory+against+Warren%2C+snapping+11-game+losing+streak

Going into the second quarter Saturday afternoon, Evanston held onto a four-point lead. After eight minutes, they were up by 22. 

“[Senior Kailey Starks] came up to me, and she said that she wasn’t losing again,” says head coach Brittany Johnson. “She was talking about seeking the big moments. She gave them to us.” 

After 11 losses in a row, beginning with the contests that were a part of the Morton College Holiday Tournament in late December, the Kits struggled to regain the momentum they’d seen at the start of the season. An exceptional game for Starks and consistently high energy from the team allowed Evanston to secure a 61-33 win against Warren and get out of its rut before a conference game on Wednesday against Deerfield. 

Though Warren (13-11, 6-6 NSL) began the game ahead with three points from senior Anika Young, a response by Starks tied the score in minute five. The Kits (10-14, 4-4 CSL) pulled ahead soon after, when a breakaway from Starks pushed Evanston in the lead, 9-7. From there, their margin of victory only grew. 

Starks netted 19 points in the second quarter, and her efforts, plus assistance from fellow seniors Arianna Milam-Pryor and Zuri Ransom, catapulted the Kits into a 37-15 lead. Following a three-point play, Starks went on a rampage, scoring six in the next two minutes.

“I don’t like to think about how many points I scored, it’s just knowing when to score and when to pass the extra ball,” Starks reflects. “I wanted to win, and I want to keep winning.” 

A run by Warren’s Shay Love and Mariah Phelps gave the Blue Devils hope after halftime, but five points by Milam-Pryor in the last minute of the third quarter kept the Kits ahead. After a slower quarter, where the Kits only managed to net nine points to Warren’s 14, Evanston doubled down in the fourth to almost double the Blue Devils’ score, with senior Starks, Ransom and Milam-Pryor combining to contribute 75 percent of the team’s 61 points. A mixture of consistent shooting and methodical defense allowed the Kits to secure the overwhelming win.

“I don’t care about the score, just how we played,” says Johnson. “We played hard. The effort I’ve been looking for was there. Even if we lost the game, I would have been happy.”

On Wednesday, Jan. 31, the Kits will host Deerfield for their last conference game before facing New Trier on the Trevians’ turf on Feb. 2. Evanston last played Deerfield on Dec. 1, where they walked away with a decisive 69-29 victory. The home match, rescheduled from Jan.12th, provides one of the team’s last chances to prove themselves before the IHSA state series begins.

“I feel excited,” says Starks. “This win showcased our good communication, and I hope it shows everyone what a good team we are.” 

“This was our first win of 2024,” says Johnson. “When you are fighting and battling so hard and you keep losing, it’s hard to stay motivated, focused, and excited about the next day. Hopefully, this game gives the team a good feeling. We’ve already played the top two teams in the state this week and we were right there. Now it’s just about channeling what we learned over the last week and building towards playoffs.”

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Alexis Rogers, Sports Feature Editor
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