It didn't take long for the Stevenson girls basketball team to show why it is one of the favorites to win the Dundee-Crown Charger Classic.
The Patriots, who finished runner-up to New Trier last year and are loaded with a roster full of talent again, routed Bartlett 55-25 in first round action on Monday.
Center Klaire Steffens led Stevenson with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Point guard Ashley Richardson was a jack of all trades with 12 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds, and 6 steals.
Stevenson (8-2), which takes on Maine South in the 3:30 p.m. quarterfinal Tuesday, dominated from the start jumping out to a 19-4 lead after one quarter.
'These first games of a tournament coming back from Christmas can be a little tricky," Stevenson coach Ashley Graham said. "But I thought we came out with great energy and enthusiasm. We got big games from Klaire and Ashley. Klaire is just a dynamic player who can go inside and outside. Today she was really effective with her back to the basket. Ashley just does a great job of setting everything up for us."
The Patriots extended their advantage to 32-11 by halftime. Steffens had 12 points in the first half.
"I think our energy was really the key," Steffens said. "We passed the ball and played to our fundamentals. My teammates made it easy for me to score with some great passes."
Bartlett (4-6) did have a nice stretch to start the third quarter. The Hawks scored the first 7 points of the second half and later in the quarter trimmed the deficit to 36-23. However, Stevenson answered with a 17-0 run to put the game out of reach.
"There is no doubt they are ranked as high as they are for a reason," Bartlett coach Dave Mello said. "We knew coming in it was going to be tough. They are well-schooled in everything they do. But the thing about our team is they will keep competing no matter what the score or opponent. I really liked the way we came out and played hard in that third quarter and kept battling."
Kayla Hare led the Hawks with 9 points.