Evanston girls avoid trap with 'ugly' 55-41 victory
Trap games just come with the territory when you’re one of the elite basketball teams in the state of Illinois.
That’s a lesson that Evanston’s girls have had to learn early in the season. And so far, they haven’t had to learn the hard way.
After a big win over Wisconsin state champion Beaver Dam in a shootout last Saturday, the Wildkits were at less than their best for a Tuesday night Central Suburban League South division contest but avoided an upset with a 55-41 triumph at Glenbrook South.
Ambrea Gentle’s 19 points and 12 rebounds sparked the undefeated Wildkits to their sixth straight victory and Kayla Henning added 13 points, including 5-of-6 free throw shooting in the fourth quarter to keep the Titans (3-4 overall, 0-3 CSL South) at bay.
Eden Frick and Maddie Kapsimalis scored 12 points apiece for GBS.
“This was a trap game for us, just like the Niles West game was after we beat Simeon,” said ETHS head coach Brittanny Johnson. “It seems like after the excitement of playing in a big game, our energy level is really low the next game. We could just be tired, too, because we’ve got some girls who are playing a ton of minutes.
“It’s an ugly win, but we’ll take it.”
Evanston forced 14 turnovers in the first half, but couldn’t take advantage of those opportunities and only led 26-16 at the intermission. Evanston’s offense stalled after Gentle scored 7 points in the first period, then went to the bench after picking up her second personal foul at the midway point of the second quarter.
GBS switched things up defensively in the second half with a “pack line” defense, but the 6-foot-3 senior center still managed to do some damage.
“A lot of times we just didn’t do a good enough job of finding the open person tonight,” Johnson pointed out. “And we didn’t convert off of all those turnovers, and that’s a huge part of our game. It was just a weird game.
“We have to do a better job of adjusting when teams pack it in like that. Every game, every team we play will play us differently and we need to make adjustments quicker as a team. We know teams are going to try things we haven’t seen yet.”
GBS, which shot 6-of-19 from 3-point range, trailed just 46-36 with 2 minutes remaining on a trey by Kapsimalis. But Jayla Turchin swished a wide-open 3-point attempt from the left corner and the Kits converted 6-of-8 free throw attempts in the last 63 seconds to move to 3-0 in league play.
Evanston hosts New Trier at 6 p.m. Friday in the first game of a girls-boys doubleheader at Beardsley Gym. The Wildkits also learned they’ll be the No. 3 seed at the 11th annual Montini Christmas Tournament, behind Benet Academy and the host team. Evanston will open tourney play on Dec. 26 at 3 p.m. against Batavia.