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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 reaches 1000 career points in Kits’ dominant win over Deerfield

Win gives Evanston a winning conference record with one conference game remaining
Evanston+players+celebrate+during+their+win+over+Deerfield%2C+71-23.
Alexis Rogers
Evanston players celebrate during their win over Deerfield, 71-23.

Senior Kailey Starks stepped up to the free throw line in the third quarter just one basket shy of scoring 1000 career points. After both attempts resulted unsuccessfully, the Kits recovered the rebound and an agile Starks sank an effortless layup. As her team rushed the court and spectators unveiled congratulatory signs, Starks celebrated her career achievement.

Starks’ accomplishment rounded out the overwhelming 71-23 victory for the Kits. During the second half, Evanston held Deerfield to just four points, drawing underclassmen to the court to add to the team’s momentum. Beginning the night with a 4-4 conference record, the Kits knew the Deerfield match would be decisive. 

“We knew we had to win against Deerfield. We couldn’t afford to underestimate them at all, even though we beat them earlier in the season,” says Starks.  

After their last 69-29 win against the Warriors (1-18, 0-8 CSL) on Dec. 1, the Kits (11-14, 5-4), had fallen into an 11-game losing streak, which they ended with a victory against Warren Township on Jan. 27. Building back their energy had been a battle, says head coach Brittanny Johnson.

“I think we’re taking steps in the right direction,” Johnson says. “It’s hard to keep the team motivated, especially coming off a losing streak. We want to just stay positive and use these moments to help us build towards the playoff rounds.”

Starting slow in the first quarter, the Kits lost their early lead four minutes in as Deerfield completed three consecutive scores. Evanston turned the quarter around to a 21-15 lead, and their energy exploded from there.

“I definitely wasn’t happy with the first quarter, but once we settled in, our effort was really good,” Johnson says. “We turned up the defense in the second half. We were able to pressure them, show discipline, and push the tempo. We had a game plan, and we followed it really well. We forced them to spots on the floor where we knew they were gonna be uncomfortable.”

Within three minutes, the Kits had doubled the Warriors’ score 30-15. Strategic face guards to Deerfield senior forward Kate Trella kept the Warriors’ top scorer back as the Kits took steal after steal and run after run to secure a 46-19 lead entering halftime.

With Starks scoring 26 in less than three full quarters of play, the guard almost countered Deerfield’s total score singlehandedly. After senior Zuri Ransom, the next highest scorer of the night for the Kits was freshman Brielle Rosemond, who made her debut as a varsity starter. Classmates Kynia Hunt, who lobbed a buzzer-beating three-point shot at the end of the third quarter, Kaliyah Copeland and Camile Calixte also took the court during the third and fourth quarters.

“[Underclassmen] have been able to get a lot of minutes because of our lack of numbers this year,” Johnson says. “They’ve gotten a lot of experience, and the expectation for them at this point is that they’re no longer freshmen. They handled the court well, they passed the ball well, and they have really good defensive intensity. I’m very happy with the way they played today.”

Going into a game at New Trier on Friday, Feb. 1, the Kits can expect to have some stiff competition. The Trevians have turned their season around since facing Evanston on Dec. 21. The Trevians have maintained a 8-6 record, making their overall record 15-14, 3-6 CSL. 

“We’re taking it one day at a time. New Trier is a really good team. They played us really well here,” says Johnson. “When we have a doubleheader, especially when it’s New Trier-Evanston, we can’t take anything for granted.”

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Alexis Rogers, Sports Feature Editor
Eva Sondgeroth, Assistant Sports Editor
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