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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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Glenbrook South closes out boys basketball in fourth quarter

Evanston will face Maine West in regular season finale on Tuesday before regionals
Evanston+went+into+its+contest+against+Glenbrook+South+with+the+knowledge+that+the+team+could+be+tipping+off+against+the+Titans+in+the+regional+finals+in+two+weeks+time+on+the+same+court%2C+but+coach+Mike+Ellis+focus+was+on+one+game+at+a+time.
Owen Chiss
Evanston went into its contest against Glenbrook South with the knowledge that the team could be tipping off against the Titans in the regional finals in two weeks time on the same court, but coach Mike Ellis’ focus was on one game at a time.

Evanston has done an impressive job of pulling out come-from-behind victories recently. But every time the Kits attempted to cut Glenbrook South’s lead down on Friday night in Glenview, the Titans continuously managed to play away. Evanston fought back in the fourth quarter to get within four with 35 seconds left, but two Kit turnovers and an intentional foul sealed the 48-39 win for the Titans.

However, the biggest sequence that summed up what type of night it was for the Kits occurred in the third quarter. After the Kits went on a 9-2 run and cut South’s lead to 29-25, GBS’ Nick Taylor got his own board and converted a putback layup. One possession later, junior Theo Rocca turned the ball over and Taylor drove down the court, grabbed an offensive rebound, and chipped in a second putback layup. And after senior Brandon Watson’s poor pass a play later, GBS’ Nate Kasher grabbed a third offensive board and scored an easy bucket for two. Evanston head coach Mike Ellis promptly called timeout.

“[GBS] made us pay three trips in a row with second-chance rebounds around the basket. That’s a ten-point swing right there,” Ellis said. “We talked about being the first team to 40 but getting down to a skilled team did us in.”

With the loss, Evanston dropped to 19-10 (5-5 CSL), while the Titans, winners of five of their last six games, advanced to 22-6 (7-3 CSL). 

The IHSA sectional brackets came out on Friday afternoon, which saw Evanston grab the #6 spot in the Maine South sectional. Interestingly enough, Glenbrook South earned the #3 seed, which means that if both teams win their first regional semifinal game, the two teams will be right back in the Titan Dome for the regional finals.

Ellis doesn’t like to look too far ahead in the future. But without any question, it’s undoubtedly more difficult to close out the regular season without being focused on the already-set playoff bracket.

“It’s 100 percent tough [knowing that]. We’re in the [playoffs] next week, and we have Maine South in our first game,” Ellis stated. “If we can handle them, then we’ve got Glenbrook South in the same gym– which they deserve. We just have to learn from this loss.”

To put it plainly, the Titans started out hot and the Kits did not. Kasher paced the Titans with seven points in the first quarter while Evanston made just one field goal in the first eight minutes of the game. The hosts led 14-4 going into the second. But even though Kasher ended the first strong for the Titans, Watson had the hot hand on the court out of the quarter break. The senior guard for the Kits opened the second quarter with a turnaround floater and continued to attack Taylor, the tallest player on the court at 6’7”. That is a trend that has continued for Watson as the season has progressed: his ability to go downhill and create his own shot over bigger defenders.

“Most teams we play switch [on screens],” said Watson, who finished with a team-high 16 points. “Once I have a ball screen and I have a big on me, I can just get past and look for my guys to get to the rim too.”

Evanston scored twelve in the second quarter but trailed the Titans 25-16 at the half. The major difference through the first sixteen minutes? Glenbrook South was shooting 47 percent from the field, while the Kits sat at just 30 percent.

Evanston clawed back into the game in the second half, but couldn’t close the rest of the way. After the offensive rebound sequence for the Titans, Evanston failed to take advantage of any opportunities to score in the fourth quarter. While the Kits ended up getting to within just four with under a minute to play, the Kits missed two easy putback layups and open threes throughout the quarter that would have been critical for a comeback.

Ellis emphasized the importance of converting those easy chances in order to get back into the game.

“The indecisiveness was around the rim. If we make those layups and convert those baskets, then the other teams feel stressed. We missed those, so we put relief on them.”

In addition to Watson’s 16, Rocca dropped 13 for the Kits. Taylor led the Titans with 14 points, while Kasher and Anestis Hadjistamoulou each contributed 11.

Evanston will head to Maine West for their final regular season game on Tuesday, Feb. 13. The Kits hope to use that game to mentally prepare for their regional semifinal date with Maine South on Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m. at Glenbrook South. 

“All I want to worry about is winning our next game,” Ellis said. “I’m not one to worry about seeds and matchups. It’s one game at a time.”

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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!
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