As Stevenson and Marian Catholic squared off in the "When Sides Collide" Shootout at Glenbard East, it was a showcase for two of the best guards in the state.
And the Patriots' Jalen Brunson and the Spartans' Tyler Ulis certainly lived up to their billing.
In the end, it was Brunson having the greater impact with 32 points in Stevenson's 76-66 win on Saturday in Lombard.
It was a close game, but the Patriots' quickness and athleticism overcame a good effort by the Spartans and the Kentucky-bound Ulis, who scored 23.
The game went to the half with the Patriots leading 27-25. Stevenson held Ulis to only 2 points on 2 free throws in the first two quarters.
The Patriots (17-1, 5-1 in the North Suburban Lake) broke the game open in the third quarter with a 28-13 burst that put the Spartans in the hole.
"We kept on attacking the basket, kept on handling the basketball and making our free throws," said Patriots coach Pat Ambrose. "They were hitting 3's and we were coming down and getting fouled. They had two guys foul out."
One of the keys to the game for the Patriots was their free throw shooting. They hit a remarkable 30 free throws on 36 attempts, including 11-for-14 for Brunson, a junior.
"We're a good free throw shooting team," said Ambrose. "(Brunson) is a very good player and he's going to get fouled a lot and get to the line."
The Spartans (15-2, 3-0 in the East Suburban Catholic) drew to within 4 points with under four minutes left but got into foul trouble. Late in the fourth quarter, Ki-Jana Crawford got hit with a foul and a technical foul on the same play. Matt Johnson sank 2 for the foul and Brunson dropped 2 for the technical to seal the outcome.
"Our defense just got into his head," said Brunson. "He was getting frustrated."
Spartans coach Mike Taylor felt there was more to the game than merely two star players.
"(Brunson) is a terrific player," said Taylor. "He's so well composed. He used his teammates really well in the first half. he has a great command out there.
"It's a lot of pressure on both (Brunson and Ulis), but both of them handle it really well. In a game like that, it's about the team -- and their team was better than our team tonight. That's the lesson our kids have to learn. It's not this kid against that kid, it's the team and which one is better on a given night."