Hinsdale South stops Stevenson's progress
It wasn't the kind of night Stevenson's boys basketball team wanted to see this early in the season.
After all, losses have been pretty rare for this outfit over the last couple of years.
The Patriots had to endure a long bus ride lasting some 2½ hours as traffic slowed the voyage to Lyons.
Getting in their way upon arrival was a fine opponent led by Northwestern-bound Barret Benson (6-foot-10), who dropped in 20 points and pulled down 14 rebounds.
Hinsdale South jumped out early and ran away with a 66-47 victory over Stevenson on the second day of Lyons' Thanksgiving boys basketball tournament.
"We did lose last year three times," Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose said. "We didn't shoot that well, and (Hinsdale South) played well. You have to give them the credit."
The Patriots (1-1) opened its season with a win over host Lyons on Monday night, but their shots were not dropping on this evening. Stevenson was shooting in the 25-percent range for most of the game before making a few more in the final quarter.
"Our shots were contested shots, and we missed a lot of open ones," Ambrose said. "We just need to do a better job, on both sides of the floor -- we're not to good on the offensive side or the defensive side. We have a lot to fix, and a lot to work on. We'll learn, live and grow.
"It's OK -- we were probably not going to go undefeated anyhow. It's good to get challenged by a good team on the road. It gives us a good tape to throw in the machine to look at this, and there it is."
Stevenson began with the opening basket from Ryuji Aoki (8 points). But the Hornets (2-0) ran off 12 straight points, capped by a layup from Brian Kern (19 points) with 4:53 left,
Justin Smith (8 points, 8 rebounds) broke the run for the Patriots. But but that time Stevenson trailed 20-14.
"They shot lights out and we couldn't do anything against them," Smith said. "They just played better than we did."
Stevenson pushed back and cut the lead to 22-19 on a 3-point play from Eric Zalewski (9 points) with 5:27 remaining in the second quarter.
Hinsdale South started hitting its shots and Stevenson couldn't make a bucket. The Hornets went on a 7-3 run to take a 29-22 lead at the break.
In the second half, the Hornets extended their lead to 46-28 at the end of the third quarter and bumped it out to 50-28 early in the fourth.
Stevenson tried to rally a bit in the final quarter but couldn't get any closer than 14 points.
"We knew a little bit about them from last year," Hinsdale South coach Brett Moore said. "We knew that they were a different team. We knew it was a nightmare match up for us. We went to a 2-3 (zone), which we do play a lot of, and it really worked. We got them in some odd situations.
"I thought we didn't take care of the ball very well. We were able to make some huge plays. When they went on a run, we were able to hit a big shot. We got out to that early lead, we had some good fundamental basketball. Stevenson does battle hard out there and I was worried, up 20, for the fourth quarter to get over with. It seemed like an hour and a half. (Stevenson) was a good team."