Loyola couldn’t climb out of an early hole Friday, and it resulted in a 56-42 loss to Evanston in the Class 4A sectional final at Niles North.
The top-seeded Wildkits (30-4) scored the game’s opening points and made seven 3-pointers in the first quarter on their way to a third consecutive supersectional appearance. They play Stevenson on Tuesday at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates.
Down 21-11 after the first quarter and 10 late in the second, the No. 6-seeded Ramblers (22-13) closed out the first half with back-to-back baskets by junior Bennett Kwiecinski and senior Connor Barrett to go into intermission trailing 27-21.
Kwiecinski and Barrett combined to score the first five points of the third quarter to get Loyola within one, 27-26. But Evanston answered with a 7-0 run to extend the lead to 33-26.
The Ramblers put together another run early in the fourth quarter, closing to deficit to four, 41-37, on junior Jordan Kwiecinski’s jumper, but they never got within one possession the rest of the game.
Evanston sophomore Jaylin Gibson led all scorers with a career-high 20 points, finishing 4-for-4 on 3-pointers. The Wildkits converted 12 3s on the night.
Bennett Kwiecinski totaled 13 points and seven rebounds. Barrett had 12 points, two steals and took one charge. Senior Quinn Pemberton contributed eight points, four assists, three rebounds and one charge. Jordan Kwiecinski had five points, five rebounds and three steals. Senior Will Bodkin had four rebounds, and junior Matty Mangan took one charge.
In addition to Barrett, Bodkin and Pemberton, seniors Ryan Evans, Chris Hughes, Nikko Landon and John Wrenn all played their last game for Loyola. Barrett, Evans and Pemberton were captains.