Selected to finish off this regional title game with a dunk was Warren point guard Jameris Smith.
That's all 5-foot-10 of him, and to add to the challenge, he was playing with an injured MCL.
"Darius (Paul) threw it to me to go and dunk,'' Smith said. "I got up as high as I could."
Smith wanted to be credited with a dunk let's just say it was kind of a dunk. The ball went up in the rim and rolled in for the finishing touches on a 58-48 regional title win over home-standing Stevenson on Friday night.
Warren (24-3), the top seed in the Barrington sectional, gave the fans at Stevenson something special for the first four minutes. Before the Patriots even scored a field goal, Warren junior Mitch Munda had 6 points.
Warren stormed to a 14-1 lead and threatened to blow Stevenson off the court.
"After the way we started against Hersey (on Wednesday), we knew we would have to come out strong,'' Munda said. "And we did.''
Munda scoreed 14 points and matched his defensive assignment on this night, Stevenson's high-scoring guard Mike Fleming.
"He's a great player,'' Munda said of Fleming "But I thought I did all right against him."
Warren coach Chuck Ramsey watched as Munda scored half of his team's 20 first-quarter points.
"Munda has been really solid all year,'' Ramsey said. "He had a great start on offense and guarded Fleming. He played all 32 minutes."
Just as Warren got off to the great start, the Pats (17-11) launched some 3-pointers and got back in the game. On Fleming's first 3 of the night, the big Warren lead had been cut to 18-14.
On back-to-back 3-pointers from JoVaughn Gaines (13 points), the Blue Devils again stretched out their lead. And after a Munda layup, the halftime lead was 34-18.
"Giving up 30 points at halftime was a lot,'' said Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose. "But Warren has a lot of firepower so they are capable of doing that.''
Stevenson had one more rush at the favored Blue Devils, and it was a freshman who led the charge. Jalen Brunson had a personal 10-point run, and with five minutes to play in regulation, his 3-point play pulled the Patriots to within a single bucket at 42-40.
"He's pretty special,'' Ambrose said. "He's calm and poised out there."
Brunson shared scoring honors with Fleming at 14 points.
Warren had one Paul drive and the almost-dunk from Smith in the fourth quarter. The other 12 points came at the foul line.
"We kept the pressure on,'' Ramsey said. "We got some stops and hit some free throws."
Smith is well aware that his coach is in his final go-around. This was Ramsey's 401st career win.
"It's also the last time the seniors will play together,'' Smith said. "We've played together for so long. Our intensity was there."
Stevenson High School
Warren Township High School
Conference: North Suburban Lake
- Green blossoms quickly at Stevenson
- Knar retires from coaching at Mundelein
- Simeon completes 4-peat against Stevenson
- Images: Stevenson vs. Simeon boys basketball
- Images: Stevenson vs. Edwardsville, boys basketball