Javon Freeman, Blake Peters put on a show in Young’s win against Evanston

Javon Freeman (13) of Young glides to the rim against Evanston Friday 03-16-18. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

PEORIA—Javon Freeman’s breathtakingly smooth glides to the basket for Young and freshman Blake Peters’ pure shooting touch for Evanston provided plenty of beautiful basketball on Friday at Carver Arena.

The Wildkits and Dolphins were expected to put on the best show of the day on Friday at Carver Arena and the two teams delivered.

Young followed the formula it has used all through the postseason to beat Evanston 62-56 in the Class 4A state semifinals.

“We have made sure that all the fans were entertained,” Young coach Tyrone Slaughter said. “We allowed the game to get close. The resiliency of these guys is what we are staking our claim on.”

Evanston led by seven at the half and by three after three quarters. The fourth quarter was back and forth early and then a big three-pointer from senior Jake Kosakowski with 3:47 to play gave the Dolphins a three-point lead and they were gone from there.

“[Young] was locked in,” Evanston coach Mike Ellis said. “They finished layups and free throws, just like a grade school basketball game that was the difference.”

Freeman finished with 25 points on a dazzling array of takes to the basket, shooting 11-for-13. He had four assists, including a styling behind the back pass, and eight rebounds.

Evanston junior Lance Jones, a good perimeter defender, had his hands full dealing with Freeman.

“It was pretty tough,” Jones said. “Javon is a very good player. I knew what he was capable of but it was hard to keep him from where he wanted to go.”

Junior Myles Baker added 10 points for Young (28-7). Xavier Castaneda and sophomore Tyler Beard each scored eight.

Only one senior, Matt Hall, played for Evanston (26-6) but the team never showed any nerves. Peters scored 23 points, he shot 5-for-7 from three-point range.

“I’ve seen freshmen that think they can make every shot,” Ellis said. “Blake does too but he backs it up a little more than others.”

“I just told myself not to think,” Peters said. “My teammates are great, always helping me through new situations. Unfortunately we couldn’t pull it out.”

Hall had 10 points and 11 rebounds, but only scored one basket in the second half.

“[Hall] had an outstanding game,” Slaughter said. “Taking him out int he second half is what turned the tide.”

Young, the defending Class 4A champs, will play Belleville West in the title game Saturday at 7:15.

“It is a situation of David vs. Goliath,” Slaughter said. “That team is incredible with [EJ] Liddell and a lot of other good parts. There is no doubt in my mind that is an outstanding basketball team.”

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6 comments

  • Fred Grouper

    This game came down to making free throws and Jones struggling. Had Jones played as expected or the kits made their free throws, then they would be advancing. Very impressed with Coach Ellis who has turned this program around. Evanston lost by 15 to rival New Trier late in the season at home but came back for a double digit win a couple of weeks late to get here. I believe that is what you call “coaching” .

    • Norm

      Jones and Holden didn’t play as expected because WY made them play that way. Evanston gets their offense from their defense against most teams. But not against WY. They are too good. Same thing happened last year. Everyone had off games. It’s not a coincidence. These top CPS teams are just better than everyone else

      • CP3

        Little known secret the starters and freshmen on the bench all came up playing competitive bball since 6 or 7 yrs old. AAU since 7yrs old, like the Nojel Eastern group that started the movement in Evanston. Couple that with a coach who can prepare a team like Ellis, and you have a recipe for success. Evanston lost vs WY because they missed shots, a tad of some selfish play at the end,(Peters hot hand) no shots in the final 3minutes, and mostly WY attacked the lane when Matt Hall was out in the 4th qtr. As even Slaughter alluded to.
        Talented group that should be preseason #1 next year, only Matt Hall is leaving from the players that play major minutes. They weren’t expected to be here this year…..next year, I’d love to see them get a crack at Belleville West.

    • CP3

      Disagree. Jones wasn’t nearly the only person who struggled. Holden missed quite a few shots as well, forced shots. Got away from finding Peters who had the hot hand, and WY took advantage of the middle with Hall out. Slaughter is the best adjustment coach in the game. first half he played to keep Jones out of the lane,Peters with a body on him, and forcing Holden to play to his right and vs length. 2nd half forced WY to account for Hall. Should be a great run next year, after a busy
      AAU season for most of Evanston’s guys.

  • BBall fan

    What happened to Elliot Sieger? High profile transfer to WY, now sitting on bench. Is he injured?

  • Norm

    This game was very similar to last year’s game. Tied in the 4th before WY pulled away. Just like last time most of Evanston’s players were completely shut down. Last year Nojel had over half the points by himself. This year it was Blake and Matt who had over half. Despite what appear to be close scores in these games WY is clearly superior. They seem to be able to dominate when they want. That said Mike Ellis should be coach of the year and the Kits were great this year and the future is bright. Proud to be a Wildkit alum

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