The path for the Evanston girls basketball team over the next two-thirds of the season is a simple one. Find a way to close the gap on powerhouse New Trier, just like the Wildkits did last season.
Led by 6-foot-3 senior center Jeannie Boehm’s 23 points, the undefeated Trevians showed Wednesday night at Beardsley Gym that they’re the favorites to repeat as Central Suburban League South division champions by crushing host Evanston 61-47.
Boehm, one of three returning starters from last year’s Class 4A third place team, gave the visitors the edge in the matchup of teams with undefeated conference records so far. But the fact that the Trevians won both regular season meetings last year between the two rivals — by 19 and 25 points — only to barely escape with a two-point victory in the finals of the Glenbrook South Sectional tournament left Wildkit fans with a glimmer of hope.
That hope had pretty much disappeared after New Trier outscored the Kits 19-11 in the second quarter to take control of the 4th annual Bob Bost Basketball Classic.
“That’s our No. 1 priority now, to find a way to close the gap on them,” said Evanston coach Elliot Whitefield. “We’ll look at the tape and try to find out ways to beat them. But I don’t have a magical solution. In my mind, our girls have to put forth more effort in practice to get there. Until we do that, we’ll beat the bad teams, compete with the good teams and lose to the top teams just relying on our talent.
“We’ve been lackluster in practice all season, so they’re not used to putting out the effort at game speed against good teams. You can’t just rely on your talent at this level.”
Leighah-Amori Wool’s 20 points led ETHS, now 9-2 overall and 3-1 in CSL South play. New Trier moved to 9-0 and 4-0, respectively. Next best for the losers were Savannah Norfleet and Krystal Forrester with 8 points apiece.
Boehm, who has been held in check in most of the head-to-head meetings between the two rivals over the past three-plus years, netted 17 points in the first half. Overall, she converted 11-of-14 free throw attempts as the Wildkits couldn’t stop her 1-on-1.
In the past, Whitefield’s strategy against the 6-3 standout has been to pressure New Trier’s guards to make delivery tougher in the post. It didn’t work Wednesday.
“We don’t have the Clayborn sisters, or an Erin Boothe or a Hanan Richmond to put pressure on the ball anymore,” Whitefield pointed out. “Those girls are all gone. When you let them enter the ball to Jeannie any time they want to, you’re going to lose by 20 points.
“New Trier executed better than we did tonight. When you’ve got a big girl like that, that makes everything else you do easier. All of their players are good shooters and they’re a bunch of seniors who play well together. That’s what makes them so tough.”
Evanston trailed 35-26 at halftime, then mustered just one field goal — a 3-pointer by Wool — in the entire third quarter to fall behind 45-30.
Source: ETHS Sports Information