Kit girls handle Vikings 58-31

A 27-point victory over the Niles North Vikings on senior night may have been just what the doctor ordered for the now 19-7 Wildkits, but arguably more important was the return of 6’2” Ambrea Gentle to Evanston’s lineup.

Gentle, who was sidelined for close to eight weeks due to a broken hand suffered in gym class, had been the team’s leading scorer and rebounder before her injury. The Wildkits went 9-2 before Gentle was hurt and had gone 9-5 without her in the rotation.

Gentle scored seven points in her return after coming off the bench for the first time this season.

“It was great,” coach Britranny Johnson said. “We’re going to work her back slowly, but just seeing her be able to run up and down, she’s a player we thought we may lose for the entire season. We’re just really excited to have her back.”

The return of Gentle comes at almost the perfect time since she can play the last few regular season games before the IHSA playoffs.

“It’s huge, trying to bring her and Delaney (Brooks) back in the playoffs would have been really hard so I’m happy that they got the three games to get their feet back under them. It’s perfect timing for us.”

Brooks, who has struggled with knee problems for most of the season, was one of the five seniors who played their last game at Beardsley Gym against the Vikings. The senior class has been one of the best in school history with a four year win loss record of 89-26.

“We’ve had great seniors,” Johnson said. “For them to be able to play as much as they did (all five seniors started) and contribute as much as they did was great.”

All of the seniors scored and a season high 12 Kits put points on the board. Junior guard Tyler Mayne led the effort with 10 points and seniors SyAnn Holmes and Amena Alexander added nine and eight respectively.

“It was the first time we really shared the ball and made the extra pass,” Johnson said. “I keep telling [my team] I want to keep going up as we enter the playoffs.”

The playoffs, for Evanston, start on Tuesday February 12 at the Maine South regional against the winner of the game between Leyden and Lake View. The Kits got the third seed in the sectional that will be held at Evanston, behind Loyola and Maine West, the teams who have accounted for three of the teams seven losses, and one spot in front of New Trier.

Against Niles North, Evanston was only up by seven points at halftime but outscored the Vikings 35-15 in the second half.

 

NFL Wildcard Week Predictions

Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts (3:25 Sat, ABC)

J.J. Watt will have a career game as the Colts offensive line can’t send much help his way with Jadeveon Clowney on the other side of the Houston defensive line. Tyrann Matthew will play well in his first career playoff game and the Texans’ defensive backfield will  limit Colts WR T.Y. Hilton. Deshaun Watson and the tandem of Lamar Miller and Deandre Hopkins will prove too much for the Colts.

Texans win 28-24

 

Dallas Cowboys vs. Seattle Seahawks (7:15 Sat. FOX)

Experience is important come playoff time and Russell Wilson will lead the Seahawks to victory behind a big game from Chris Carson. The Seahawks’ fast defense will do just enough to get a W.

Seahawks win 27-16

L.A Chargers vs. Baltimore Ravens (12:05 Sun. CBS)

Baltimore’s stingy defense will reek havoc just as in the teams’ first matchup this season. With Phillip Rivers under constant pressure, the Chargers’ offense will struggle. And nobody has figured out how to stop Lamar Jackson yet.

Ravens win 24-13

Chicago Bears vs. Philadelphia Eagles (3:40 Sun. NBC)

Mitch Trubisky will lead the Bears to victory at Soldier field. Allen Robinson will have a huge game against a banged up Eagles’ secondary. And don’t forget the Chicago defense allows the fewest points in the league. Philly magic runs out.

Bears win 31-20

Kits win third straight Majkowski Classic at St. Viator

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At the start of the 2016-17 season, Evanston switched Thanksgiving  tournaments from the Battle of the Bridge tournament at Lane Tech and Depaul Prep to the Majkowski Classic at St. Viator. The move has proved to be a good one for the Kits. ETHS has won the tournament every year they have competed and they have played some of the state’s elite competition. This year was no different.

 

Game 1: Evanston 77 Conant 45

https://www.evanstonian.net/sports/basketball/2018/11/23/eths-opens-season-with-77-45-win-at-st-viator-tournament/

 

Game 2: Evanston 85 Libertyville 51

Evanston collected its second victory of the year as Louis Lesmond, the sophomore transfer from France, found his stride, tallying 16 points in the contest after only scoring four points in the first game of the year.

“It was good to see [Louis] bounce back,” coach Mike Ellis said. “I know he was disappointed in the way he played last night. That just shows you what type of competitor Louis is.”

Evanston had balanced scoring as senior guards Ryan Bost and Lance Jones scored in double figures as well with 19 and 15 points, respectively.

“I think [our players] recognize that everybody on our team has the potential to have a breakout game or a big performance,” Ellis said. “We’re hard to guard when it’s balanced like that I like to look up and see two or three guys near 20 points.”

On defense, Evanston racked up up a whopping 17 steals.

 

Game 3: Evanston 65 Prospect 37

The Prospect Knights came out ready to play and matched Evanston in the first quarter, playing to an 11-11 tie after one period. But then it was all Wildkits.

ETHS ratcheted up the defensive pressure in the second quarter, a theme of the young season thus far, and went into halftime with a 32-17 lead. Up 59-29 after three quarters, the mercy rule, back this year in IHSA basketball, came into effect only stopping the clock in the final quarter for timeouts and injuries.

Offensive balance was the story again for the Kits as no player scored more than 13 points. But Evanston had three players in double figures for the second straight game. Jones led ETHS with 13 points, sophomore Jaylin Gibson added 11 and fellow senior guard Jaheim Holden scored 11.

Evanston applied pressure to Prospect’s ball handler’s all game and came up with a total of 21 turnovers.

 

Game 4: Evanston 72 Saint Viator 63

In the most anticipated game of the tournament, between the No. 2 ranked Wildkits and the No. 9 ranked Lions, according to Michael O’Brien’s Super 25 ,the teams did not disappoint.

St. Viator’s two division 1 bound guards, Jeremiah Hernandez (Kent State) and Treyvon Calvin (Wright State) both lived up to the hype each scoring 22 points. But five Evanston players scoring in double figures proved too much for the host Lions to handle.

Gibson led the Kits with 17 points and 11 rebounds, Jones scored 15, and Bost, Holden and sophomore Blake Peters all tallied 12 points.

“Last year there might have been  moments in games where Jaylin would catch himself trying to think where he belonged, now he’s getting more comfortable and he can just react and play,” Ellis said. “He’s a play maker, he’s athletic, he can do multiple things on the floor. The fact that he’s not out there thinking the game, just playing, really strengthens what he can do.”

After trailing by four after the first quarter, Evanston rallied to take a 33-31 lead into halftime and led 54-46 after the third quarter.

In the final period, St. Viator cut the Kits’ lead to six points, but Evanston closed it out, coming away with a 72-63 victory.

ETHS will go on the road to play GBS this Thursday at 7 pm, then will face No. 11 Uplift at the Chicago Elite Classic at Wintrust Arena on Saturday at 1:30 pm.

Snider leads Kits to Regional Title

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Down but never out.

As the clock began to run out on Evanston’s baseball season the bats finally came alive and created time for at least one more game.

Through the first five innings of Saturday’s game the Kits had been held scoreless and to only one hit by Fenwick hurler Joey Atkins.

But as Atkins started to tire,  Evanston got better contact and eventually broke through in the bottom of the 6 inning.

Down 3-0, Fenwick scored one run in each of the first, second and sixth innings, The Kits started the home half of the sixth the way they had started many other innings, a strikeout by junior left fielder Chris Wolfe. Next up was pinch-hitter Nadav Sered-Schoenberg. After fighting off a few nice pitches from Atkins, Sered-Schoenberg found one he could handle and grounded it right back up the middle for the Kits second hit of the afternoon. Jake Snider then stepped to the plate but he couldn’t reach base leaving Sered-Schoenberg standing alone on the bases with two outs.

Senior catcher Fletcher Brown stepped in next and after spoiling good pitches from Atkins, the pitcher made his first bad mistake of the game. Atkins fired a fastball right down the middle and Brown didn’t miss it. He ripped a double down the left field line and Sered-Schoenberg held up at third base.

Adam Geibel followed Brown and didn’t squander his opportunity.

On a good pitch from Atkins, Geibel floated the ball into center field and the ball landed just in front of the Fenwick outfielder. As Geibel trotted to first, both Sered-Schoenberg and Brown came around to score. 3-2.

Sophomore first baseman Noah Lieb had a chance to tie it with a hit but he was retired for the third out.

In the top of the seventh, Fenwick had traffic on the bases once again as reliever Joe Elper hit Friars outfielder Jack Grace in the helmet to start the inning. Then Charles Wood reached on an error. Lucas Kolovitz was next and put the ball in play, the only play Evanston had was at first base. Kolovitz was retired but both runners advanced. Epler then walked Will Hendricks to load the bases with one out. An angry and visibly upset Epler regained his composure before Ken Slepicka stepped to the plate. He struck out. Then Tim La made the final out of the inning, no damage done.

In the bottom of the last inning Epler led off for Evanston, he hit a sharp ground ball but was thrown out at first for out number one.

Next was Harry Porter. He connected on another hard hit ground ball but this time the Fenwick Shortstop couldn’t field it cleanly. One on one out.

Pinch-hitter Sawyer Brown stepped up next. He hit the ball to the second baseman but it was slow enough that there was no play at second base, Brown was retired at first but Porter moved into scoring position.

Wolfe stepped into the box with a chance to tie the game at three apiece. Wolfe watched the first pitch go by for strike one, he was and missed at the next one. 0-2. The Fenwick reliever then tried and tried to make Wolfe chase a pitch out of the zone but he wouldn’t do it. He tried again no chase 2-2. Then the pitcher lost his control. Two more balls to Wolfe put him on first base.

Pinch-hitter Charlie Gruner followed Wolfe. With one strike on Gruner, the pitcher got wild once again. Walk. Bases loaded two outs. Jake Snider was up next but first came a meeting at the mound for Fenwick. This allowed head coach Frank Consiglio to talk to Snider before his at-bat.

“When Jake came up there I just told him to look for something and hard,” Consiglio told Evanston Now.

On the second pitch of the at-bat, Snider got just what he was expecting, a hard slider on the outside part of the plate. Snider flipped the ball into right field and it got down before anyone could get to it.

Porter and Wolfe both crossed home plate before the ball came back into the infield. 4-3 game over.

“That was easily the biggest hit of my career,” Snider said to a reporter from Evanston Now. “I just knew I had to put the ball in play and at least tie it up. I had my batting gloves and my helmet on right from the start of the inning, because I had a feeling it would come down to me.”

Consiglio knew that it was a special win, for the team of course but especially for his group of seniors.

“That was a special win,” Consiglio said. “What made it so special was not the way it happened or that we won a regional on our home field. This is a group of seniors who understand the program and helped create a family atmosphere here. It’s always special when you get a bunch of kids who love the game as much as you do.”

 

Goodman shines as boys water polo heads to State

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Revenge is sweet.

After New Trier and Loyola accounted for two of the Kits’ three regular-season losses, Evanston advanced past both the Trevians and the Ramblers to clinch a berth in the state quarterfinals.

In the Sectional Semifinal match up, the Kits scored three goals in the last three minutes, all by junior Rafael De Gouvea, to beat New Trier 5-4.

Our guys really wanted it,” coach Kevin Auger told Evanston Now. “They didn’t back down or start to doubt themselves even when we got down 4-2. That’s got to be our No. 1 comeback ever.”

In one of the lowest scoring games of the season, junior goalie Henry Goodman made an estimated 20 saves and also assisted on a breakaway goal scored by junior Nathan Perkoski with a perfect 20-yard lob pass. Sophomore Grant King also scored for Evanston.

Goodman would follow up that performance with another stellar showing in the Sectional finals. Goodman made 14 saves and the Ramblers hit five posts in the contest. But Auger had confidence that the shots off the posts wouldn’t go in.

“One of the drills we do in practice is working Henry to get to the corner,” Auger told Evanston Now. “He knows the parameters of the net because of the hard work he does. He knows what he needs to do to get to that corner.”

In the 4-2 win, Evanston’s defenders could double and even triple team Loyola’s best scorer and take their chances leaving other players with a wide open shot against Goodman.

King, sophomore Ben Coleman, senior Jacob Finn-Samuels and senior Lucas Verrilli were the scorers for Evanston.

The Kits will face off against Lyons Township, ranked number 1 in the state of Illinois by illpolo.com, on Thursday at 5:45 pm. Evanston is 5 in those rankings.

Kits win Maine East Sectional with similar victories

 

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Photo courtesy of Anne Tarpey

 

Before a crowd of nearly 3500, Evanston proved that when it mattered the most, they were the kings of the north shore.

The Kits defeated Loyola in the sectional semifinals on Tuesday before beating New Trier on Friday in the championship to advance to the elite eight for the second year in a row.

Both games followed similar paths. ETHS got an early lead, then they fought to hold on.

In the first game, Evanston found itself with a 20-5 lead after the first quarter largely due to Lance Jones’ individual greatness. The quick, powerful guard scored 13 points in the first quarter alone and ended with a game-high 25 points.

The Kits could do no wrong on defense in the first period only allowing 2 field goals.

At halftime, ETHS went to the locker room with a 31-20 lead. But the Ramblers wouldn’t go down without a fight.

Loyola suddenly got hot from three-point land in the form of Kevin Cunningham. The senior guard converted 7 three-pointers in the game and finished with 24 points total.

Although Evanston’s lead had completely vanished with half of the third quarter still to play, the game tied at 35 apiece, the Kits never let Loyola in front.

“We knew that Cunningham is a great shooter,” Blake Peters said when speaking to a reporter from Evanston Now. “But when he caught fire I thought we did a great job of staying calm and not panicking.”

When the game stayed close in the fourth quarter, the Evanston spark came from an unlikely source.

With starter Jaheim Holden out with foul trouble, freshman Elijah Bull made the most of his minutes.

He scored 5 points, a three and two huge free-throws. Bull’s three made the score 48-37 and Loyola couldn’t recover.

The triumph over the Ramblers set up the third matchup of the season against New Trier.

The teams had split the first two meetings with New Trier coming away with a 56-40 win at Beardsley Gym in the most recent game, and the Kits were out for revenge.

Again ETHS got off to a quick start building an impressive 20-11 lead after one quarter. This time Blake Peters led the early attack. Peters set the tone, knocking back New Trier with three early jump shots. He finished with a game-high 19 points.

“I have to admit that I played horrible in both games against New Trier,” Peters said to Evanston Now.” I felt like I let my teammates down with both performances. But once I started hitting some shots tonight, we were able to feed off that barrage.”

In the second quarter, the game calmed down a bit and Evanston went into the locker room with a 33-20 advantage.

But just as the Ramblers had three days prior, the Trevians came out fighting after an impromptu halftime show had concluded.

The halftime festivities began with the Trevian mascot dancing on the sideline to various well-known songs played over the PA system. Then the mascot ran onto the floor and started really showing off his moves.

Soon the announcer sensed what was happening and asked the Evanston students to come and compete with the Mascot. Three students from the Evanston student section accepted the challenge and every fan in the gym enjoyed the show.

As I said, the Trevians came out fighting. They forced turnovers on defense and ETHS started missing the threes that they had been converting in the first half.

New Trier cut the lead down to as little as 5 points on two occasions, but that’s when Holden, who had been held quiet in the first half, stepped up. Holden got steals, free-throws and even some of his patented high-flying acrobatic layups against the Trevians’ 6’9″ monster Ciaran Brayboy.

Holden finished the night with 16 points.

Evanston rode a 7-0 run late in the fourth quarter to a 69-57 win.

“It feels really good because a lot of people didn’t think we’d make it this far,” Jones said to Evanston Now. “They counted us out and that’s what makes this feel really amazing.”

Jones also scored 15 points including 4 three-pointers.

The Kits will face Lake Zurich in the Super Sectional this Tuesday at 8 p.m. at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates for the chance to go to Peoria for the first time in 10 years.