It will probably be a few days before the members of the Evanston girls basketball team learn just how they fared in semester exams held earlier this week at ETHS.
But the Wildkits certainly aced their first test of the second semester Friday night in Park Ridge, crushing Maine South 51-21 and remaining one game behind pacesetting New Trier in the Central Suburban League South division standings.
The Wildkits held Maine South to just 8 points — including 2 field goals — in the first half on the Hawks’ home court after beating South by only 3 points the first time the two teams met this season. Leighah-Amori Wool’s 16 points, and Leah Robinson’s 12 points and 10 rebounds were more than enough for ETHS to improve to 16-3 overall, 5-1 in league play.
Evanston forced 22 turnovers with relentless fullcourt pressure and the losers, now 9-9, never could get untracked, shooting just 7-of-31 (23 percent).
Kits’ head coach Elliot Whitefield said he wasn’t concerned his players would come out flat following a stressful three days of testing, although many teams have difficulty adjusting to a different schedule of classes and practices in January.
“These girls have been through this before,” Whitefield shrugged, noting that all five starters were also starters last year. “They were all done with their tests on Wednesday, so they had Thursday to clear their minds. If anything, playing this game was probably a relief in that it allowed them to let off some steam.
“We’ve lost here the last two years and it was a big game for us because it keeps us alive in the conference. The way we started the game, I know that they were here — and they were focused. So I knew Maine South would have a tough time scoring. We spent two days talking about the stuff Maine South runs and we knew we had to keep them out of their comfort zone. If you let them get into their offense, then they can run their gimmicks and back door plays.”
Wool, bothered by a bad ankle, tossed in three 3-point baskets in the first half and actually outscored the Hawks 13-8 all by herself. She only attempted two field goals in the second half.
Evanston led 36-14 after three periods and the margin of victory would have been greater except that the winners shot just 7-of-15 from the free throw line in the second half.
Dennis Mahoney is sports information director for ETHS.