After losing to Evanston’s basketball team twice last season, a veteran Notre Dame club wasn’t about to let it happen again.
The Wildkits fell into a 17-0 hole in the first quarter and Notre Dame eased to a 65-50 victory, handing the Kits their first defeat of the season in the championship game of the Battle of the Bridge Thanksgiving Tournament at Lane Tech.
“We didn’t come ready to play, that was the bottom line,” said Evanston coach Mike Ellis after his team slipped to 3-1 on the year. “We tried to warn our young team that, after we beat them here last year and in the regional championship game, this was a game that Notre Dame would have circled. But I’m not sure that message got through.
“We weren’t there mentally and we didn’t play as a team. We had too many defensive breakdowns. All of our guys need to be solid at both ends of the floor, not just at one end.”
Evanston did outscore the Dons (4-0) over the last three quarters after falling behind 24-4 at one point. In the fourth quarter, the Wildkits closed to within 12 points at 44-32 on a fastbreak layup by Malik Jenkins ; again at 47-35 on a 3-point basket by Jerome Bynum; at 53-41 on another 3-pointer by Bynum; and at 60-48 on a pair of free throws by Jenkins with 64 seconds remaining.
Bynum scored a season-high 17 points for ETHS and Jenkins added 8 points. Dylan Mulvihill netted 7 points for the Kits, who face Crete-Monee at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the Team Rose Shootout at Morton College.
Evanston’s Nojel Eastern and Elijah Henry were both selected to the six-player all-tournament team. Notre Dame’s Joe Mooney was chosen the tournament MVP after dropping in a game-high 20 points versus ETHS.
Source: ETHS Sports Information