Evanston's big second quarter sinks Maine South
It all went away in flash for Maine South Monday at the Class 4A Maine West sectional in Des Plaines.
Maine South watched as Evanston exploded in the second quarter and roared to a 65-51 win to end the Hawks' season.
Evanston (24-6) will meet Maine West for the sectional title at 7 p.m. Thursday.
It was a tough way to end the season for Maine South (26-7) which became just the ninth team in school history with 25 wins or more.
"We had a great season," Maine South coach Jeff Hamann said. "This game in this particular setting, Evanston was the better team."
After losing twice to Evanston this season, Maine South appeared to have solved the Wildkits.
The Hawks got off to a tremendous start. Emily Pape came off the bench to score all 9 of her points in the first quarter as the Hawks led 15-8.
Maine South had momentum and the Hawks were playing solid defense and led 19-12 with 5:55 left in the first half on a basket by Caroline Barker.
That's when the bottom dropped out for the Hawks. Maine South turned the ball over 5 times and missed three shots to go scoreless to close out the half.
Evanston, on the other hand, erupted.
Led by Kayla Henning, who scored 10 of her 18 points, Evanston finished the half with 16 consecutive points. Nearly all of the 8 field goals that the Wildkits would score during that stretch were layups as Evanston led 28-19.
"Evanston is a great team," Hamann said. "We were ready. We came out and had a nice start. Ultimately, we allowed them to get to the basket way too many times. We allow a team shoot layups in any game, you are most likely going to lose."
Evanston led 42-25 midway through the third quarter when the Hawks made a run. Pressuring the ball, Maine South forced a pair of turnovers and score 7 unanswered points to pull to 42-32 on a basket by Barker.
Evanston then went on a 12-2 run that stretched into early in the fourth quarter that put the game away.
"I am not upset with my girls," Hamann said. "They played their tails off. They are a great bunch of kids."
Maine South got balanced scoring. Pape and Barker each had 9 points. Nicole Gardiner had 8 points, Niamh Gardinaef 6 points and Niki Manolis and Greta Miller, each chipped in 5 points.
Miller, one of the team's co-captains, said that it will be difficult to leave this team, many of which she has played with since second grade.
"It has been so much fun," Miller said. "It has been my best season. I am very lucky to be playing with these girls. I have been playing with them a long time. We have grown up together and I feel so lucky."