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The lumberjack handshake by Sophia Way isn't by accident.
"It comes from basketball," Stevenson's 5-foot-8 junior guard said.
Translation: lots of shooting and ball-skill drills.
Way's hard work and that of her teammates was evident in the Patriots' 60-32 win against host Warren in Gurnee on Tuesday night. Stevenson sank a season-high 11 3-pointers, including four by Way, in improving to 5-2 overall and 2-0 in the North Suburban Lake Division.
Six of the 10 Patriots who played drained shots from beyond the arc.
"This is the best shooting team I've had in my five years," Stevenson fifth-year coach Tom Dineen said. "We don't have much size, so we got to be able to shoot it, and these kids can."
Way, who scored a game-high 16 points, made a pair of 3s to help stake Stevenson to a 10-4 lead midway through the opening quarter. The Patriots then got 3-pointers from Way, Jessica Burke and Melanie Despinich in outscoring the home team 20-4 in the second quarter to lead 30-10 at halftime.
"Mr. Dineen is always stressing being efficient with our shooting," said Way, who hit five 3s, scoring 24 points, against Wheaton Warrenville South at the Schaumburg Thanksgiving tournament last month. "We've got so much time in the gym every day after school. It's just about getting as many shots and good shots as possible -- not rushed, not casual. Every day we work on breaking a sweat and really focusing on taking shots that we're going to be taking in games."
Warren (1-7, 0-3) received 8 points apiece from Keely Knobbe, Kylie Nedelka and Hailey Leinart. Kristen O'Brien, who came in averaging a team-leading 11.7 points per game, was held to 2.
"She didn't feel good tonight," said coach John Stanczykiewicz, whose Blue Devils played their second game in a row without freshman guard Rebekah Foley, who's been ill. "We were playing with half an 'O.B.' There's something going around the team."
After a 1-2 start, Stevenson has won four in a row. Sophomore guard Janine Fajardo added 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting against Warren. Despinich scored 8 points coming off the bench. The Patriots helped force the Blue Devils into 23 turnovers.
"We got to sit in a zone because of our lack of size, and we defend pretty well out of it," said Dineen, whose starting five doesn't include a player taller than 5-10. "We've been rebounding OK out of it, but we're running the floor real well and shooting the ball real well."
With his Patriots up 39-22 after three quarters, Dineen summoned senior Dana Morgan and junior Emily Merrick off the bench. Morgan hit two long jumpers, including a 3. Merrick swished her only 2 shots from beyond the arc.
"We were going crazy for her," Way said of Merrick. "It's exciting."
Warren hit a couple of 3-pointers of its own -- compliments of Knobbe and Leinart -- in the fourth.
"The kids try hard," Stanczykiewicz said. "All we can do is hope that, as we continue to work hard and continue to stay positive, it will click."