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Article updated: 11/25/2013 10:20 PM
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Stevenson impresses in opener
 

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Stevenson impresses in opener
  • Grayslake Central's Michael Benko, right, tries to stop Stevenson's Brandon Hwang during a Bison Classic tournament play at Buffalo Grove on Monday evening.

    Purchase Photo | Grayslake Central's Michael Benko, right, tries to stop Stevenson's Brandon Hwang during a Bison Classic tournament play at Buffalo Grove on Monday evening. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Patrick Kunzer/pkunzer@dailyherald.com Grayslake Central's Matt Loeffl, left, battles Stevenson's Brandon Hwang, upper center, for a loose ball at Buffalo Grove High School on Monday evening.

    Patrick Kunzer/pkunzer@dailyherald.com Grayslake Central's Matt Loeffl, left, battles Stevenson's Brandon Hwang, upper center, for a loose ball at Buffalo Grove High School on Monday evening.

  •  Grayslake Central's Malcolm Reed, left, races Stevenson's Jordan Hodes to the ball at Buffalo Grove High School on Monday evening.

    Purchase Photo | Grayslake Central's Malcolm Reed, left, races Stevenson's Jordan Hodes to the ball at Buffalo Grove High School on Monday evening. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  •  Stevenson's Samuel Panitch takes the ball to the hoop against Grayslake Central at Buffalo Grove High School on Monday evening.

    Purchase Photo | Stevenson's Samuel Panitch takes the ball to the hoop against Grayslake Central at Buffalo Grove High School on Monday evening. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  •  Grayslake Central's Malcolm Reed, center left, and Stevenson's Jordan Hodes, center right, are at the center of a rebound tussle at Buffalo Grove High School on Monday evening.

    Purchase Photo | Grayslake Central's Malcolm Reed, center left, and Stevenson's Jordan Hodes, center right, are at the center of a rebound tussle at Buffalo Grove High School on Monday evening. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

Larry Weindruch

It's only the first game of the boys basketball season but Stevenson has already served notice that it will be a force on the heels of last season's state runner-up finish.

The Patriots, with returning starters Matt Morrissey and Cameron Green not in uniform yet since football season for them ended on Saturday, put together a dominant performance in the Bison Classic at Buffalo Grove, defeating Grayslake Central 74-29.

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Heavily recruited point guard Jalen Brunson and fellow junior Connor Cashaw each scored 16 points for the Patriots, and freshman Justin Smith came off the bench to score 11.

Grayslake Central's Charlie Anderson led the Rams with 8 points, and Jack Beckman added 5.

"These (early) games show what we need to work on," Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose said. "We need to work on speed, cutting, and things you can't replicate in practice.

"I thought Matthew Johnson (10 points) gave us a lot of energy," Ambrose said. "He didn't play a lot last year."

Cashaw scored 8 points in the first quarter as Stevenson ran out to an 18-8 lead. A14-2 run in the second quarter pushed the lead to 34-13 at halftime.

"We ran our sets," Cashaw said. "We're a young team, so this gave us a chance to learn players' tendencies. (Smith) is very talented. He's going to be really good for us."

Brunson scored the first 5 points of the third quarter, including a basket and a 3-point play in a 39-second span, and Stevenson led 59-21 after 3, giving the reserves playing time in the fourth quarter.

"This is their (the reserves) opportunity to work hard and get into the rotation," Cashaw said.

"We came out with a lot of energy," Brunson said. "We still need to do more talking on defense. We pressured up well."

"Anyone who doesn't think Brunson is the real deal isn't paying attention," Grayslake Central coach Brian Moe said. "They're really good, really long, quick and athletic.

"This is what we want," Moe said. "We can learn what we need to work on. Night after night, we won't be facing that level of athleticism."

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