Stevenson gets back to work against Lake Zurich
With no game Friday or Saturday, some of Stevenson's boys basketball players got in a pair of contents anyway, spending part of their weekend taking in Batavia's Night of Hoops doubleheader.
They watched Batavia, where Patriots senior guard Matt Johnson attended as a freshman, lose to West Aurora and Highland Park edge St. Joseph.
"Good games," Stevenson guard Connor Cashaw said. "(The trip) was just for fun."
Stevenson's 69-47 win over visiting Lake Zurich in a North Suburban Lake Division showdown Tuesday night wasn't as exciting. But after having 10 days off in between games, the Patriots were happy just to pick up another victory against a quality opponent.
Cashaw collected 17 points and 11 rebounds.
"It felt good to play again and get another win under us," said Jalen Brunson, who scored a game-high 19 points while adding 7 rebounds and 6 assists. "We played a really good team, a really well-coached team. Just to get a win like that, by a margin like that, really means a lot."
Lake Zurich (19-7, 4-6) got a three-point play from Nick Penny to start the game, but Stevenson (18-2, 8-0) countered with a 12-0 run, and the Patriots never looked back. They were up 16-6 after one quarter, despite 6-of-15 shooting against Lake Zurich's zone.
"We were a little rusty. We hadn't played in a while," said Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose, whose team was off Sunday and Monday (no school). "We looked a little out of sync. Our effort was pretty good, but it could have been better."
Cashaw had 5 rebounds, including three on the offensive glass, in the opening quarter. Brunson (4 defensive boards, 1 offensive) and Ryan Rosenbaum (2 offensive rebounds) were also active on the offensive glass.
"The whole coaching staff and Coach Ambrose tell me to be aggressive on the boards as well as to get back on defense," Cashaw said.
"We didn't exactly shoot real well so that's why we had a chance to get after the rebounds better," Ambrose said.
Justin Smith (10 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks) threw down a two-handed, back-to-the-basket dunk to highlight Stevenson's second-quarter effort, as the Patriots went into halftime up 35-18. Brunson and Cashaw had second-half dunks.
Mike Travlos led Lake Zurich with 14 points (two 3-pointers), while Nick Meyer added 11 points and 6 rebounds coming off the bench. Travlos and Jack O'Neill each hit a pair of 3s, but the visitors shot just 2 of 11 in the first quarter and 4 of 14 in the second.
"We just never felt like we were able to get in sync," Bears coach Billy Pitcher said. "I know that has a lot to do with (Stevenson). They play really good defense. But we made some poor decisions and gave them so many offensive rebounds. And we just didn't make open shots again."
Among those in attendance? Some of Johnson's former teammates at Batavia. Johnson scored 7 points, including a 3-pointer
"It was great to see them come up for him," Cashaw said. "It was exciting."