Kits’ Boothe inspires teammates and sister
Evanston' Erin Boothe gets tripped up in the lane during the fourth quarter of Friday evening's game against Glenbrook South. Evanston won the game 35-31. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 19, 2013 1:49PM
EVANSTON — Erin Boothe was worthy of praise long before she clinched Evanston’s 35-31 win over Glenbrook South with two late daggers from the charity stripe.
In that critically important matchup between two CSL South girls basketball rivals, Boothe stepped to the line with 14 seconds remaining on the clock Friday and the Wildkits leading by two.
“I look at the scoreboard on the first free throw and I’m like, ‘You got to make this,’ and it didn’t look right going in but thank God it went in,” said Boothe, recalling her first free throw, which rolled off of the left side of the rim into the net.
Her second free throw, to make it a two-possession game, was a lot smoother, whistling through the net.
“The first one, she called it off because it was rolling out,” junior guard Seara Clayborn said, “but the second one, she was calm and collected about it.”
Boothe tied for the game high with 10 points, swishing several mid-range jumpers and earning the praise of Evanston coach Elliot Whitefield.
“Erin’s a better shooter than people think,” Whitefield said. “She’s had games where she’s been able to hit a couple of 3s. She’s not one of our primary shooters but she certainly can hit open shots. She can get streaky like the rest of them, but Erin knows her role and she’s our best defensive player and plays it well.”
Yet Boothe might not even be the best basketball player in her family. Her sister, an eighth-grader who was honored at halftime of the Evanston-Glenbrook South contest for her participation in a local youth basketball program, already has drawn comparisons to Evanston’s starting point guard.
“Everybody’s like, ‘That’s the little you,’ and I’m like, ‘She’s better than I was when I was her age,’ ” Boothe said. “She’s way better, but I’m here for her, just a role model for her.”
In that sense, Boothe can provide her sister with something that she never had herself.
“I didn’t have anybody to watch,” Boothe said. “I just played on my own. I barely had anybody as a basketball role model.”
Boothe said that she enjoys being a role model for her little sister, but her little sister isn’t the only one drawing inspiration from the senior point guard. Clayborn said that the Wildkits draw plenty of inspiration from their hard-working guard.
“Erin brings an intensity that everybody has to match,” Clayborn said. “She works hard all the time. She’s a great defender and she executes really well. In practice, she makes us all better by her aggressiveness, and she’s also a leader, helping us out when we don’t know the plays. She’s always encouraging.”
On Friday night, her fans — and her beloved little sister — had plenty to be proud of. At game’s end, Whitefield credited Boothe with figuring out how to penetrate Glenbrook South’s zone.
“I really think Boothe (knew) where to go in the middle and passing the ball and knowing where to pass the ball and reverse the ball,” Whitefield said. “Erin is very smart, and I tell her to do something and she goes and does it and she does it well.”