Evanston senior Lance Jones is one of the area’s best defenders. He’s strong and fast and most of all the effort is always there. Jones just plays really hard.
The SIU recruit had a major challenge on Saturday at the Chicago Elite Classic against Uplift. He led the defensive effort against Markese Jacobs, the area’s top-ranked senior.
“I knew he was an athletic, physical guy,” Jones said. “I wanted to play smart and not reach too much.”
Jacobs scored 33 points in front of his future teammates and coaches at Wintrust Arena, but the game was all Evanston. The No. 2 Wildkits beat the No. 11 Titans 80-64.
“You aren’t going to stop Markese,” Evanston coach Mike Ellis said. “He’s a legitimate scorer from any spot on the floor as soon as he crosses half court. It takes five guys on defense to be locked in on him. Our goal was to have ten eyes on him the entire game. We knew we would give up some easy baskets to other guys but it is his house and he is going to be a great addition to the DePaul family.”
Jones had 18 points and six rebounds and senior Ryan Bost had 24 points for Evanston (6-1), which led 41-27 at halftime.
“I’ll admit there has been a little bit of pressure,” Jacobs said. “There is a bullseye. You have to come with it every game.”
Detalian Brown scored 12 for the Titans but no other players reached double-figures.
The Wildkits are normally an excellent three-point shooting team, but were just 5-for-24. They moved the ball well and found other ways to score.
Senior Jaheim Holden had 14 points and four assists. Blake Peters and Isaiah Holden each added eight points. Jaylin Gibson, a strong 6-3 sophomore had seven points and seven rebounds and is developing into the post presence Evanston desperately needs.
“Gibson has been more mature than last year,” Jaheim Holden said. “He’s learned to listen to the older guys and that helps his game and he’s helping us more than last year.”
Uplift (2-1) also lacks size, so it was a good matchup for the Wildkits.
“We have to find ways now to play against teams that have some size,” Ellis said. “When we can solve that puzzle and keep other teams out of the paint that is going to show me that there is growth.”