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Stevenson maintains order against Lakes
 

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Stevenson maintains order against Lakes
Bill Pemstein

Maybe it was an omen. Of course, it was in no way intentional.

But when it was time to introduce the visiting Eagles of Lakes, guard Ethan Sage was announced to the crowd as Sage Ethan.

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The challenge was daunting enough on Tuesday night. Sure, visiting Lakes came to Lincolnshire with a three-game winning streak, but waiting for the Eagles was a Stevenson's team that's only lost once all year.

Lakes (8-11) actually played right with the Patriots for the last three quarters of this NSC crossover game Tuesday night.

It was that first quarter that put the Eagles on their heels.

Stevenson standouts Connor Cashaw and Jalen Brunson outscored Lakes in the first quarter as Stevenson (15-1) opened up a 23-4 first quarter lead on the way to beating the Eagles 64-36.

With two minutes before halftime, it was just plain ugly at 35-9.

"They came out shooting early and we weren't finishing,'' said Lakes guard Jake Balliu.

Folks might have been tempted to leave the premises at halftime, but a personal 6-point run by Balliu caused Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose to call a timeout. Lakes scored the first 10 points of the second half.

"It was nice to come out strong on our home floor,'' Ambrose said. "We didn't do that in the third quarter."

So how did the Eagles manage to give the Pats a hard time in that third quarter?

"We came out with a quick spurt,'' Balliu said. "We wanted to get back into the game."

To make sure the Eagles didn't cut any further into the Stevenson lead, Brunson headed to the basket. The junior had 7 of his game-high 18 points in the third quarter.

With the game back in Stevenson's control, Ambrose was given the opportunity to show off some of his other players. Football standout Cameron Green scored his lone bucket of the game on a lob pass from Brunson.

"Cameron is a heck of a football player,'' Ambrose said. "He's coming off a broken hand in football. In some games, he's played more than others."

Green isn't complaining about his playing time at all.

"I get to play with my guys and basketball keeps me in shape,'' Green said. "Plus, I wanted to play under a great coach like coach Ambrose. My job is to play hard and rebound. I can leave the scoring to those other guys."

There were other contributors to the Stevenson cause. Freshman Justin Smith scored 8 points. Brandon Hwang landed a pair of fourth-quarter 3-pointers, and Matt Morrissey had 6 of his 8 points in the third quarter.

Balliu and Tramone Hudson led the Eagles with 10 points each. Football standout TJ Edwards drilled in a pair of 3-pointers and added 7 points.

"We've been doing well this month,'' Balliu said. "We just need to keep our heads high."

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