Kai Evans scores 30, plays lock down defense to lead Bolingbrook past Homewood-Flossmoor
“That’s the beauty of Kai Evans, one of the best two-way players in the state,” Bolingbrook senior Darius Burford said.
Bolingbrook junior Kai Evans is 6-3 and strong. He has the same endless motor and toughness that so many of Rob Brost’s players have displayed over the last several years.
Next season, with Darius Burford graduated, he’ll be the Raiders’ star. Tuesday may have been a sneak preview of what the future holds for Evans.
He scored 30 points and played a key role in slowing down Homewood-Flossmoor star RJ Ogom to help Bolingbrook beat the Vikings 70-67. The teams split the season series and will finish as co-champs in the Southwest Suburban Blue.
“That’s the beauty of Kai Evans, one of the best two-way players in the state,” Burford said. “Obviously RJ is a great player but we had faith that Kai could guard him. It was big time.”
Burford added 23 points and five rebounds. The Elon recruit shot 11-for-16.
“It feels amazing to get some payback for what they did to us the first time,” Burford said. “Just great to get the team win.”
Junior Isaiah Stafford made two free throws with nine seconds left to help seal the win for the Raiders (26-5, 7-1).
“I like putting myself in those situations because I’m confident that I’m going to be able to come through for my team,” Stafford said.
Joel Watts led H-F (23-4, 7-1) with 20 points and seven rebounds. Josiah Palmer added 12 and 6-8 junior Chad Readey had 11 points and seven rebounds.
“We didn’t shoot well at the beginning of the game,” Brost said. “Sometimes when we don’t shoot the ball well we kind of disappear but we didn’t do that today. We are showing a little bit of toughness, which is nice to see. Especially against a team that is bigger than us and physically stronger than us.”
Ogom, a College of Charleston recruit, finished with eight points and eight rebounds.
“Really, I just wanted it,” Evans said of guarding Ogom. “He’s a good player. My teammates helped me the whole time. Whenever I missed something they came from the back.”
H-F opened the fourth quarter with a 7-0 burst and lead 55-53. Evans drained a three-pointer with 5:51 to play that ended the burst.
“We just had great energy,” Stafford said. “Kai was unbelievable. When we play like that there isn’t much you can do.”
The Raiders lost seven of their top eight players from last year but still managed to earn the No. 2 seed in the Lockport Sectional.
“We started the season 6-3 and for us to do this I’m just proud of our guys,” Brost said. “To be quite honest if you would have told me 26 wins I would have said that is a little heavy. But we will take it.”
Bolingbrook beat the No. 1 seed, Joliet West, earlier this season. The Tigers were without several of their top players in that game. But the Raiders have had Joliet West’s number in the state playoffs recently.
“I’m just so happy we won and thankful for all the things we did this season but I’m just ready to get started with the playoffs,” Evans said.