Stevenson falls short against Evanston in OT
While she and her basketball teammates may not compare to Jalen Brunson and his at Stevenson, Sophia Way can at least mention her fine team in the same breath as the school's fine arts.
"I could not be more proud to go to a school like Stevenson," Way said. "Academically, we're ranked so well. Our fine arts are ranked very well. Our football team is the (Class 8A) state champion. Our (boys) basketball team is ranked No. 1 in the state. Having all that success, sometimes people overlook (the girls basketball team)."
Way was still a proud Patriot following Stevenson's 68-60 overtime loss to Evanston in quarterfinal action of the Dundee-Crown Charger Classic in Carpentersville on Saturday night. The loss was the first of the season after 12 wins for Stevenson, which will play Rockton Hononegah at 3:30 p.m. Monday.
"It's better to come now, at this point of the season, than come playoffs," Way, who had 8 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists, said of the loss.
Patriots coach Tom Dineen was equally proud of his team, which was led by sophomore guard Ashley Richardson's 22 points and 3 steals and Taylor Buford's 19 points and 9 rebounds.
"I never anticipated that this late in the season we'd be 12-0," Dineen said. "It was a great game and obviously a very tough quarterfinal game. We come over here for the competition, and we got it. I'm disappointed in the loss, but truly not in their effort."
Stevenson, which held slim leads at the end of each of the first three quarters, was up 55-52 after Janine Fajardo (7 points) hit 2 free throws with 22 seconds left in the fourth quarter. But after a timeout, Evanston's 5-foot-11 sophomore Leighah-Amori Wool used a screen at the top of the key to sink a 3-pointer, which forced overtime.
"I could see it developing," Dineen said. "We just didn't get there as quickly as we would have liked."
Evanston (9-5, 2-0 tournament) outscored Stevenson 13-5 in the extra session. Savannah Norfleet's fifth 3-pointer of the game extended the Wildkits' lead to 62-58 with 1:09 left, and Stevenson couldn't recover. Evanston closed the game with a 9-2 run. Norfleet, who did not start the game, scored 5 of her game-high 27 points in OT. The 5-7 sophomore also had 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals.
Wool finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds, and Allysah Boothe added 11 points (three 3s).
"To Evanston's credit, they stepped up and hit some big shots," Dineen said.
For the Wildkits, the win avenged their season-opening, 44-32 loss at Schaumburg.
"They definitely improved from their first game of the season," said Richardson, who shot 12 of 14 from the foul line and scored all 5 of Stevenson's points in OT. "They were a little sloppy when we first played them, but they definitely cleaned it up."
The good news for Stevenson was that its undefeated boys team won the Proviso West tournament.
"They're good. We're good," Richardson said. "It's all good."