The signage at the west end of Beardsley Gymnasium definitely will need some updating at the end of the winter sports season.
Evanston’s girls basketball team made sure of that Friday night as they clinched at least a tie for the Central Suburban League South division championship by turning back rival New Trier 50-44.
That final margin was deceiving, because ETHS — now 22-3 overall — held the Trevians scoreless for the first 6 minutes of the fourth quarter and breezed to a 49-33 lead, only to be outscored 11-1 over the final 2 minutes.
The Wildkits maintained a one-game lead over Glenbrook South in the conference chase and the two teams will meet in the regular season finale next Friday. Evanston’s last outright girls title came in the 2012-13 season.
Seniors Leighah-Amori Wool (12 points, 7 rebounds) and Krystal Forrester (11 points, 9 rebounds) helped the Kits complete a regular season sweep of New Trier, which fought back with five 3-point baskets in the second half.
“Every time we practice or play in Beardsley and I see that sign, that we haven’t won since 2000 something, I want it to be this team that’s up on that wall,” said first-year head coach Brittanny Johnson. “I’m really never worried with this team. I don’t want to sound cocky or anything, but our goal is to win that last game of the season, and if we drop one along the way, I’m not worried about them. I know the girls wanted this one bad tonight.
“We knew that New Trier shot very poorly the first time we played them and they’re usually very good shooters. We do need to guard the 3-point line a lot better, or that could be a problem for us (in the postseason, but I thought we responded the way we needed to tonight.”
“This was a big step for us tonight. Now we’re on to the next one,” said Forrester, who kept the Kits on track with 9 points in the second half. “We’re playing for all of the seniors, not for our selves, because we know that time is winding down for all of us and we want to get on that (championship) board. They did get some 3s against us, but we’re a team that has multiple ways to score and we still kept attacking them in the second half.”
The hosts outscored New Trier 11-1 to open the second quarter, enough to provide a 22-14 halftime cushion as the Trevians mustered only 5 total field goals over the first 16 minutes. A 3-point basket by Maggie Murdock (8 points) pulled New Trier within 23-19 early in the third period, but the Kits pulled away again and a runner in the lane by SyAnn Holmes with two seconds left kept the winners on top by a 40-33 margin.
Forrester scored twice in the paint and Wool also tallied twice, on a drive and a 3-point shot, before New Trier finally got on the board in the final period.
Dennis Mahoney is sports information director for ETHS.