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.

 

 

 

 

Holden, defense leads Kits to Regional crown

 

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Photo courtesy of Ann Tarpey

While Jaheim Holden had a nice regular season, averaging about 14 points per game, he played like a true star in the Glenbrook South Regional Tournament.

In the first game, a 51-38 triumph over host GBS, Holden tallied 20 points and converted all 7 of his free throw attempts.

The contest was too close for comfort for the first three quarters, Evanston only leading by 4 points at halftime and 10 at the end of the third. But Holden’s 6 points in the final period, a spectacular tip dunk by Lance Jones and a timely three-pointer from Blake Peters helped Evanston extend their lead as the clock hit zero.

The Kits also forced an astounding 24 turnovers but struggled to capitalize as their offense looked sluggish for most of the game.

GBS held the Kits to a measly 9 points after the first quarter and 19 at the half. ETHS’ total output of 51 points was 11 under their season average of 62. Nevertheless, Evanston survived and advanced.

In game two of the Regional Tournament, the Regional championship, the Kits looked better on offense and put up roughly the same numbers on defense, forcing 18 steals and 23 turnovers in all.

Holden erupted once more. This time for a career-high 29 points. He sank 12 of 18 shots from the field and also pitched in on defense, accounting for 4 steals.

“I just have to lead in any way possible to help the team,” Holden told a reporter from Evanston Now. “I have a chip on my shoulder from last year (super-sectional loss). So winning today was an accomplishment. But we’re far from finished. The goal we have is to get Downstate.”

The game was also very personal for one Notre Dame player. Anthony Sayles, who lives in Evanston, had talked some trash about the ETHS freshman trio, was held to 7 points and committed 7 turnovers after scoring 30 points in ND’s Regional Semifinal win over Maine West.  

The tandem of bigs for the Kits, Matt Hall and Jaylin Gibson were faced with stopping ND’s monster inside, 6’9” Dusan Mahorcic. The two did just enough, making him work for every basket, to keep him from single-handedly eliminating Evanston. Mahorcic scored 28 points and grabbed 17 rebounds.

“I thought Matt and Jaylin both stepped up and did a tremendous job in the second half against Mahorcic,” coach Mike Ellis told Evanston Now. “Because of them, Notre Dame didn’t have the safety net of just being able to throw it into him, and their guards had to create more out in front.”

Evanston’s two other junior guards, Jones and Ryan Bost also had productive games on both sides of the ball. Jones tallied 10 points and 4 steals and Bost added 20 points and 3 steals. Lance and Ryan took turns guarding Sayles who never found his rhythm offensively.  

The Kits were only up by 2 at the half, 28-26, and that only because of a 30-foot buzzer-beater three from Holden. But with quarter scores of 19-11 and 19-14, ETHS pulled away in the second half.

In the last minute of play, both coaches put their subs in, Mahorcic’s only rest of the game, and even recent call-up Jerome “Jigga” Smith saw playing time. The sophomore guard is listed at 5’5” but that is very generous. He is a whopping 110 pounds.

Evanston will play in the Sectional semifinal at Maine East on Tuesday at 7pm. against Loyola who discarded Maine South in the Regional championship at Maine South 48-29.

In the other two Regional championships in the Maine East Sectional Niles North survived St. Viator 68- 60 and New Trier got past Prospect 53-35. The two winners will meet on Wednesday at 7pm.

 

2017-18 NFL playoff predictions: Superbowl 52

Matchup: New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles 5:30 pm. NBC.

Prediction: New England Patriots 23 Philadelphia Eagles 20

The Eagles will start fast, going up double digits in the first half. But Nick Foles will come back down to earth. The Eagles’ defense will hold the Patriots in check until the final minutes of the game. But when the game is on the line, Tom Brady will hook up with Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola on the game-winning drive. Stephen Gostkowski will hit the game-winning field goal as time runs off the clock, to give Tom Brady his sixth Superbowl title.

Juniors lead Kits over Vikings 76-72

 

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Photo courtesy of Ann Tarpey

Evanston’s trio of junior guards Jaheim Holden, Lance Jones and Ryan Bost were held to just 23 points combined when the Kits and Vikings met in Skokie in mid-December. It was a different story Friday night in Beardsley Gym.

In front of a sellout crowd of over 2500 people, the three guards combined for 65 of ETHS’ 76 points. Bost scored a season-high 19 points while playing tenacious defense on Dravon Clayborn for the better part of the contest.

Jones, who only scored nine points in the first meeting, went for 22 on the night and 12 in the fourth quarter and overtime. Jones had to fight through both cramps and a rolled ankle late in the game.

Holden tallied 24, his highest output since the last game of the Thanksgiving tournament way back in November. Holden connected on 13 straight free throws down the stretch, going 16-18 from the line overall.

“Making free throws is part of your mental toughness,” Holden said while speaking with a reporter from Evanston Now after the win. “We’re tougher now than we were the last time we played them.”

Evanston had the lead for the majority of the contest and the margin was nine heading into the fourth quarter. But Niles North battled back as Demaria Franklin scored 18 points in the final quarter alone. Franklin hit a wide-open three-pointer to finally tie the game at 66 apiece with five seconds left in regulation. Franklin ended up with a game-high, 32 points.

Evanston had 4.7 seconds to get off a potential game-winning shot and recreate the ending that took place just one week ago. This time the ball went to Bost. He dribbled up the court and he got a shot up from just outside the three-point line. The ball was on line but a little too long. It hit the backboard and ricocheted off the rim. Overtime.

In the extra period, the Vikings won the tip and Franklin came down and dunked the ball with one hand, igniting mayhem in the Niles North student section.

The Vikings had all the momentum at that point, but the Kits battled back. Using acrobatic layups from Jones and clutch free throws from both Jones and Holden, ETHS escaped with a 76-72 win. Niles North’s slopping hand-checking defense didn’t help the Vikings either.

With the victory, Evanston improved to 17-4, 7-1 in league play. They also knocked Niles North out of the conference race as the Vikings dropped to 20-3, 5-3 in the CSL South.

Although Niles North has less overall losses the both Evanston and New Trier, the two teams left in contention, all of the Vikings’ defeats have come to conference teams, which makes it nearly impossible for them to win the league anymore.

Even though this ending wasn’t quite as exciting as the last one on the Beardsley floor, this very well could be the biggest win of the year.