RECAP: EVANSTON 43, LA 40
Kevin Cunningham had a good look.
The Loyola Academy senior guard tried to send the game into overtime.
But his last-second, three-point shot attempt at the top of the key was slightly off target as the Ramblers dropped a hard-fought 43-40 decision to host Evanston on Feb. 6.
LA (21-4) and Evanston (20-4), considered two of the top teams on the North Shore, went it at hard for 32 minutes. The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Ramblers.
“You can pick out a lot of things that we didn’t do well tonight,” said LA head coach Tom Livatino. “There are a lot of things that we need to get better at.”
Ball protection is always big in a game like this.
LA finished with 17 turnovers. The Wildkits committed just seven miscues.
“We gave them too many offensive rebounds,” Livatino observed. “We gave them too many extra possessions.
“And we missed too many free throws,” Livatino added.
LA went 2-for-6 at the free-throw line. Evanston hit 14 of 19 foul shots.
“We were far, far from perfect tonight,” said the LA coach. “And don’t be fooled by the low score. We didn’t guard as well as we should have.”
On the bright side, the Ramblers received some strong individual performances.
Junior guard Connor Barrett tallied a team-high 14 points on four three-pointers, including two in the opening two minutes. He buried his biggest trey with 35 seconds left in the game to pull the Ramblers within a point, 39-38.
Bennett Kwiecinski also scored in double figures. He had 12 points to go along with five rebounds and two blocks.
Cunningham stepped up his offensive down the stretch. Five of his eight points came in the final four minutes.
LA senior Pete Mangan contributed six points, eight rebounds, four assists and two blocks.
Evanston guard Jaheim Holden led all scorers with 15 points. He went 4-for-4 from the foul line in the final 25 seconds of the game.
Evanston’s Lance Jones had 12 points.
LA’s Game Balls: Connor Barrett (Jr., G), Bennett Kwiecinski (So., F)
Evanston’s Game Balls: Jaheim Holden (Jr., G), Lance Jones (Jr., G)
Player of the Game: Holden
LA’s Unsung Hero: Pete Mangan (Sr., G-F)
LA’s Stat Leaders
— Barrett (14 points, 4 three-pointers, 2 assists)
— Kwiecinski (12 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks)
— Mangan (6 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks)
— Cunningham (8 points)
Evanston’s Stat Leaders
— Holden (15 points)
— Jones (12 points)
— Ryan Bost (7 points)
— Blake Peters (5 points)