Evanston’s youth extends to reserve unit
Evanston's Will Jones passes around St. Charles East's Joren Wilson during the second quarter of their game at St. Charles East on Saturday night. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 11, 2013 7:22AM
ST. CHARLES — Evanston’s boys basketball team is quite young this season.
Although nobody on the Wildkits roster or coaching staff is using that as an excuse for the team’s 7-9 record, they are willing to admit there are growing pains that come with having just four seniors out of 14 players. One of those pains is a bench that is still coming of age, which can mean inconsistent play when coach Mike Ellis goes to his reserves.
One guy that Ellis can count on is his sixth man, junior guard Will Jones. But even Jones is not always a sufficient solution.
Saturday’s road game against St. Charles East showed the good and bad that Jones and the rest of the Evanston bench can produce. Jones came off the pine in the second quarter and was on fire, draining four 3-pointers and a free throw over a five-minute stretch. Jones scored 13 points and grabbed three rebounds during the stretch, keeping Evanston afloat while Ellis rested his starters.
However, in the second half, when foul trouble and fatigue started to set in, Jones and the reserves were nowhere to be found. Evanston wound up losing 60-57 on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer. The bench scored just 17 of the 57 points; Jones didn’t have a basket in the second half.
“We definitely need help, we can’t rely on just five guys to win games for us,” Ellis said. “(Jones) is a guy that comes in and usually gives us some athleticism, some defensive presence.
“But in fact we need more than Will. He’s stepped up and gotten better each week, and hopefully there’s going to be someone else who steps up off the bench. I’m rooting for all of them to be that guy, and hopefully that one guy emerges and it’s not just Will, it’s others as well.”
Jones, like the rest of his teammates, was dejected following the narrow loss. But he found time to talk about his performance, and what he and his fellow benchmates need to do the rest of the year.
“It’s real important for us to stay productive when our starters are out,” Jones said. “I feel like we’ve had good energy lately, but this was just a tough game.”