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The Evanstonian

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

The Evanstonian

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Brown’s three forces OT, Kits complete improbable comeback on senior night

Evanston+took+home+the+win+on+Senior+Night+over+De+La+Salle
Isaiah Gaddy
Evanston took home the win on Senior Night over De La Salle

Not having a lead for four quarters is typically not the recipe for a win.

After last night, though, Evanston might say otherwise.

Down by as much as 11in the fourth quarter alone on Monday night, the Kits tied the game on a senior Morgan Brown’s clutch three with nine seconds in regulation to send the game from overtime. Evanston took its first lead of the night off senior Jonny Dickson’s triple in OT and clawed back from the jaws of defeat to knock off De La Salle, 65-62, in a storybook win on the Kits’ senior night.

The improbable comeback for the hosts over De La Salle marked the third straight win in just four days for Evanston (18-9). De La Salle fell to 14-9, but many of those losses have come from high-caliber tournaments across New York, Florida, and Kentucky, which made the Kits win all the more impressive.

“This [win] was great for our seniors,” Evanston head coach Mike Ellis said. “They haven’t been dynamite at home this season, so to see them on senior night get a hard-fought overtime victory? Great for the seniors.”

De La Salle’s Richard Lindsey led all scorers with 25 points on the night and appeared to be nearly unstoppable for the first 32 minutes of the game. The 6-ft-4 guard finished the night on 11-of-21 shooting and Evanston didn’t have an answer for him, until overtime. In the four-minute period, Lindsey committed two turnovers and missed a well-defended, game-tying three in the final seconds of overtime.

For the Kits, junior Theo Rocca had a team-high 19 points, while seniors Brandon Watson and Jonny Dickson chipped in 16 and 10 points, respectively.

“From [De La Salle’s] perspective, it’s hard to play from one guy every time you come down the court,” Ellis stated. “And once [Lindsey] started missing, we did a great job of rebounding. We definitely cut the second chances off.”

It appeared as if the Meteors were going to ruin Evanston’s senior night early on, going up 14-9 at the end of the first quarter in a balanced attack on offense and extending that lead to 34-24 at halftime. De La Salle’s tenacious man-to-man defense prevented Evanston from getting anything easy in the paint early on, and the Meteors’ 57 percent first-half shooting certainly wasn’t making the Kits’ life easy on the defensive end. Lindsey’s buzzer-beating three, his 15th point at the time, put the Meteors up 10 at the break and took the life out of Beardsley. 

Ellis knew an adjustment had to be made on both ends of the floor.

“I told the guys to stay with it. Our defense in the second half has improved on our recent winning streak and it all comes down to not being satisfied with whatever situation we’re in,” Ellis emphasized.

But still, Evanston had no answer for Lindsey in the third quarter, who hit three fadeaway jumpers and scored six points in that period alone. The Kits ended up outscoring the Meteors by one in the third but trailed 46-37 going into the fourth quarter.

Down eleven with seven minutes remaining in regulation, Evanston’s defense locked down the perimeter, and Rocca, Watson, and Peters combined for four triples to bring the Kits to within just 56-53 with two minutes left in the fourth quarter. 90 seconds later, Evanston found themselves down 58-55 and got the ball back after the refs swallowed their whistles and didn’t call a foul on the Kits, leading to a De La Salle travel before Brown rose up and knocked down the game-tying shot.

Dickson’s contested three to open overtime gave the Kits a three-point lead, and the hosts never looked back. Evanston held De La Salle to four points in the quarter and managed to hold on despite late free throw misses by Rocca and Watson.

Watson reflected on exactly where the momentum shifted for the Kits.

“Once we tied the game and Morgan hit that big shot, we knew we could win the game in overtime,” Watson said. “We just had all the momentum. We [knew] we were going to win the game.”

For the six seniors playing their last game on the Beardsley floor, Monday’s win was incredibly emotional.

“[We all] had a lot of emotions,” Watson stated. “We wanted this one really bad and played hard. It was a big [one].”

Playing three games in four days isn’t easy– let alone winning all three. Ellis highlighted how important this final stretch in January has been for the team’s confidence.

“We talked about being better at the end of January into February and starting to become a finished product in the postseason,” Ellis said. “I think that resonated with our guys, because we’ve had a lot of opportunities in this month to grow and now we can build on that in these next couple of weeks.”

The Kits will head to Winnetka on Friday night for a showdown against New Trier (22-5).

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About the Contributors
Owen Chiss, Digital Sports Editor
Will Klearman, Opinion Columnist
Hey everyone! I’m Will Klearman (he/him) and this year I am an opinion columnist as well as a sports writer. I am a sophomore and this is my second year on staff. Being on The Evanstonian is great because it allows me to get an inside look on the sports at ETHS. I also love getting my opinion out there. Outside of The Evanstonian, I enjoy hanging out with friends, playing tennis and watching sports!
Isaiah Gaddy, Staff Writer
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