Officials at Lake Zurich weren't counting fans one-by-one as they funneled seemingly non-stop into their school Tuesday night. It would have been too easy to lose track.
Instead, they simply estimated that a standing-room-only crowd of 2,700 sandwiched into every possible open space to watch Stevenson take on St. Viator in a heated Class 4A sectional semifinal.
Meanwhile, counting points one-by-one for Stevenson would have been pointless, too. Counting by twos often didn't work either.
The Patriots were often operating in multiples of three in taking down St. Viator, 84-73.
Stevenson (29-1) was red-hot from long-range, and rang up a school-record 13 3-pointers along the way. As a team, the Patriots were 13-of-23 from behind the arc (57 percent) and star guard Jalen Brunson connected on 6 of his 10 3-point field goal attempts.
Four other players (Matt Johnson with 3, Parker Nichols with 2 and Connor Cashaw and Matt Morrissey with one each) hit from long-range as well.
"We have confidence that when we drive and kick, someone can knock those (3-pointers) down," said Brunson, who finished with a game-high 34 points. "When we're in practice, the scout team really helps us by collapsing on us or sticking to their man. The way we work out and prepare in practice helps.
"We're really lucky. You sometimes don't get all these (good shooters) at one public school. We're fortunate for what we have but we also do a lot of (3-point shooting) drills."
The Patriots drilled 11 of their final 14 3-pointers to pull away from a pesky St. Viator team that was down by as many as 22 points in the third quarter but cut its deficit to 10 points with about three minutes to play.
"They're a great team and they got rolling. They're great shooters and they attack hard all around," Cashaw, who finished with 16 points, said of St. Viator. "But our coaches got us prepared for them really well."
The Patriots were able to do the same thing last year.
Stevenson defeated St. Viator, which closes the season with a 23-6 record, in the sectional title game last year en route to advancing all the way to the Class 4A state championship game. The Patriots, who also got double-figures from Johnson (14 points), will now face the winner of today's semifinal between Fremd and Highland Park in Friday's 7 p.m. sectional title game at Lake Zurich.
"We played well in the first half but they really came back in the second half and shot real well," Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose said of St. Viator. "We were disappointed that we didn't keep extending the lead. But give them credit. They weren't going to give up and they got hot for a while. They hit shots right over our hands."
Drake recruit Ore Arogundade came up big in the clutch for St. Viator, scoring 11 of his team-high 24 points in the fourth quarter. The Lions also got 17 points from junior guard Roosevelt Smart, who was being scouted by Wisconsin, Creighton and Wichita State, among others. Patrick McNamara added 15 points for St. Viator.
"It was unbelievable (the way Stevenson shot from 3-point range). I've never seen a team shoot that well," Arogundade said. "They got hot and we really couldn't do anything about it. Hats off to them. It was a great shooting performance.
"It's tough losing to the same team the last two years (in the state tournament). But in my opinion, they'll be the state champs this year. They play well, they play together, they're well-coached and they're a very good team."