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Article updated: 1/17/2014 11:34 PM
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Big night for Dillon, Stevenson
 

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Big night for Dillon, Stevenson
  • Stevenson forward Nick Dillon shoots the ball against Lake Forest defender Steve Vogrich at Stevenson on Friday.

    Purchase Photo | Stevenson forward Nick Dillon shoots the ball against Lake Forest defender Steve Vogrich at Stevenson on Friday. George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  •  Stevenson forward Jalen Brunson finds himself sandwiched between Lake Forest defenders including Cal Miller, left, at Stevenson on Friday.

    Purchase Photo | Stevenson forward Jalen Brunson finds himself sandwiched between Lake Forest defenders including Cal Miller, left, at Stevenson on Friday. George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  •  Stevenson guard Jalen Brunson leaps to stop Lake Forest guard Jack Traynor from passing the ball at Stevenson on Friday.

    Purchase Photo | Stevenson guard Jalen Brunson leaps to stop Lake Forest guard Jack Traynor from passing the ball at Stevenson on Friday. George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  •  Stevenson forward Jalen Brunson turns the corner on Lake Forest defender Cal Miller at Stevenson on Friday.

    Purchase Photo | Stevenson forward Jalen Brunson turns the corner on Lake Forest defender Cal Miller at Stevenson on Friday. George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  •  Stevenson forward Matt Johnson drives to the basket against Lake Forest defender Jack Traynor at Stevenson on Friday.

    Purchase Photo | Stevenson forward Matt Johnson drives to the basket against Lake Forest defender Jack Traynor at Stevenson on Friday. George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

 

The basket -- a pump fake to get his defender airborne and then a drive and finish -- was vintage Jalen Brunson.

Only it wasn't Jalen Brunson who made the slick move during Stevenson's 66-50 win over visiting Lake Forest in the North Suburan Conference Lake Division basketball game Friday night.

Story Continues Below

It was Nick Dillon, who looks like he could be a bodyguard for Brunson, the Patriots' star.

"I learn from the best," the 6-foot-3, 265-pound Dillon said with a smile.

Stevenson's best was at his best again. Brunson dropped in a game-high 25 points, including four 3-pointers, while also coming up with 5 steals and taking a pair of charges. Fellow guard Connor Cashaw added 15 points and 12 rebounds, as Stevenson (14-1, 4-1) rebounded from its loss a week earlier to Zion-Benton.

Evan Boudreaux had 22 points and 12 boards for Lake Forest (12-4, 3-3), which never led.

"I liked how we pressed a little bit and were able to get out on them and get the game going a little faster," said coach Pat Ambrose, whose Patriots led 16-7 late in the opening quarter after Brunson's second 3. "It's hard to speed up teams because they'll be patient and be smart. And (Lake Forest) is a good, physical and well-coached team."

The presence of the 6-8, 220-pound Boudreaux was one reason why Ambrose put Dillon on the court.

A two-way lineman and two-year starter for the football team, Dillon played for the second game in a row. Like teammates Matt Morrissey, Cameron Green and Pat O'Connell, the junior got a late start on the basketball season after helping the Patriots reach the Class 8A state semifinals. Dillon then dealt with a lingering shoulder injury he suffered during football.

"He plays physical, he plays smart, he plays his role, and he has inched into the lineup because of that," Ambrose said. "He gives us something that you don't see a lot of other kids on the bench give us -- that size, that toughness.

"And the kids love him," Ambrose added. "He's a real talker. He's a real leader. In football, he's got the mouth guard in all the time. We don't let him play with the mouth guard."

With ample scorers on the Patriots, Dillon doesn't have to worry about putting the ball in the basket. He showed he has that ability, though.

"On this team we have a lot of players who can make plays," Dillon said. "I'm a role player. I just try to work hard, get loose balls, get rebounds. With Jalen and Connor we have all-Americans on our team, so I just do the dirty work. I don't have a problem with that. That's what I've been doing, and that's what I do for football, too. It's all good."

At halftime, with Stevenson up 36-25, Patriots football coach Bill McNamara presented Michigan State-bound wide receiver/safety Morrissey with the football team's annual "Big Gun" award for his actions on and off the field. Then at the end of the third quarter, Morrissey and Brunson teamed up on a big play.

Trailing 46-36, Lake Forest called a timeout with 15.7 seconds on the clock. But Brunson stymied the Scouts by coming up with a steal to start a 2-on-1 fastbreak. He then delivered a bounce pass to Morrissey, whose layup beat the buzzer.

"It was a big momentum-shifter going into the fourth quarter," said Morrissey, who scored 9 points. "We had to make sure they didn't have a bucket at the end there. They were trying to set something up for Evan on the post, but Jalen got a great steal and then I just ran the court with him."

Dillon's pretty bucket extended the Patriots' lead to 53-39 with 5:40 left, and the hosts continued to pull away.

"We let him touch the ball every once in a while," Ambrose said, smiling. "In football, he doesn't do that. So he gets really excited when he touches the ball."

"It was big for him, and he's got a lot going for himself," Morrissey said of Dillon. "He's a good kid. He's working hard."

After missing last week's game against Zion-Benton, Matt Johnson scored 8 points for Stevenson. Noah Karras was Lake Forest's only other player in double figures, as he scored 11 points, hitting three 3-pointers.

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