Visiting Waukegan was missing its starting point guard, Jordan Johnson, who was on crutches at game time in Lincolnshire.
But would it really have mattered that much?
Clearly Johnson would have trouble covering the likes of the likes of Connor Cashaw, Jalen Brunson, Andy Stempel and Matt Morrissey. All four of those Patriots players scored in double figures on Tuesday night.
Stevenson (18-4) made it eight wins in a row with an impressive 66-49 win over an athletic bunch from Waukegan.
Thats probably one of the hardest teams to guard that weve seen, said Waukegan coach Ron Ashlaw. They run a true motion offense and they are really good at it. They also have a ton of kids who can score.
As the crowd settled in it seemed to be a toss-up contest as the visiting Bulldogs (13-10) knotted this game up at 13-13 late in the first quarter.
And then the Pats went on a 21-4 run and never looked back.
Cashaw (19 points) and Stempel (14 points) were in double figures in scoring by halftime. Stevenson owned a 39-22 lead at the break.
My hats off to our coaching staff, Cashaw said. We knew what Waukegan was going to do.
Cashaw seemed to have an extra step on his opponent and when he wasnt scoring on drives to the hoop, he earned time at the foul line. He hit 11 of 13 free throws on the night to lead all scorers.
Connor is much improved, said Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose. Hes a very diverse player and does a nice job. And hes made tremendous strides from last year.
Cashaw credits his work in AAU ball during the summer where he and teammate Brunson found plenty of playing time.
Stevenson has helped me get a lot better, he said.
Stempels first of two 3-pointers opened the explosive second quarter for Stevenson. He scored 10 points in the second quarter alone.
The game went to halftime following a gorgeous pass from Brunson to his AAU teammate, Cashaw. Fouled on the play, Cashaw completed the 3-point play.
The 17-point halftime lead wavered briefly but stayed right there as both teams scored 27 points in the second half.
They were missing their point guard (Johnson), Ambrose said. But this team presents so many problems. Thats one of the reasons we put them on our schedule.
On a flip shot from Jerome Davis (16 points), the Bulldogs cut the Stevenson lead to 42-30 early in the third quarter. Brunson (18 points) and Stempel answered back for the home team and the lead was safe again at 48-32.
Ambrose knows there are tough games in Stevensons near future but his team is in a good spot in the NSC race.
We are in the drivers seat for the NSC, he said. And we like the view from the drivers seat.
Morrissey had just the first half 3-pointer at the break. He saved his scoring for the second half and closed with 10 points.
Waukegan also had some players reach double figures in scoring. Quintin Davis scored 11 points before fouling out. Devonte Taylor added 10 points.
Stevenson High School
Waukegan High School
Conference: North Suburban Lake
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