Fans throw energized send-off for Stevenson High School's boys basketball team
Stevenson High School's boys basketball team received a rousing send-off Thursday before boarding a bus to the state semifinal game in Peoria.
Led by the Division I, college-bound backcourt of Jalen Brunson (Villanova) and Connor Cashaw (Rice), Stevenson plays downstate Friday for the third consecutive year. The Patriots (28-3), who finished third in the Class 4A state tournament last year and second in 2013, face Bolingbrook High School (24-6) at 6:30 p.m. at the Peoria Civic Center.
The state championship game is Saturday night. If successful, Stevenson would be the first Lake County team to win a state title
At Thursday's send-off, students, parents and others filled the Forum at Stevenson High. An added dose of energy was provided by the school's pep band.
Players, coaches and team managers were introduced by master of ceremonies Mark Onuscheck, who is Stevenson District 125's director of curriculum, development and instruction. Head coach Pat Ambrose and Brunson made brief remarks to the crowd before heading to the coach bus parked outside the Forum.
Brunson, wearing a No. 9 New York Knicks blue road jersey, expressed his appreciation to the crowd.
"I hope everyone comes out and supports us," Brunson said. "This is all we've been working for. I'm just so excited to have this opportunity."
Ambrose also thanked "Patriot Nation" for coming to the Forum, and Stevenson administrators for arranging the festivities.
"We need your support," Ambrose said.
Stevenson throttled Riverside-Brookfield High School this week to advance to the semifinal round.
Tickets for Stevenson's games at the Class 4A boys basketball state tournament only are available through Ticketmaster or the Peoria Civic Center ticket office. The Peoria Civic Center ticket office will be open for walk-up sales starting at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday.