A winning return to form for Stevenson
It was back to basics for Stevenson's boys basketball team on Wednesday.
And basically, it was a success.
After a disappointing showing the previous night, the Patriots forced numerous turnovers and piled up the points to get back on track.
Stevenson had it all going in the first half as they ran away from Longwood Academy 68-40 in the Lyons tournament on Wednesday night.
Willie Herenton led the Patriots off the bench with 18 points and 5 rebounds, while his brother Rodney had the night off to rest a sore knee. Justin Smith added 15 points, which included an amazing dunk, along with 8 rebounds.
"We just didn't play well as a unit (against Hinsdale South)," Herenton said of Stevenon's loss Tuesday. "We just had to come out with a different intensity, and it starts off on the defensive end. It set the tone for us offensively."
In the opening quarter Wednesday, it was clear the Panthers (0-3) would struggle with the Patriots' pressure. Smith scored 11 in the period, including an alley-oop served by up Ryuji Aoki (8 points) for a 17-4 advantage with 2:36 left.
"We do have a play for (Smith)," Aoki said. "It comes off a back screen against a zone defense. He gets up, I put it in the right spot and he can finish it. We practice it a lot and we've got a lot of chemistry."
Stevenson (2-1) held a 24-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Then the Patriots kept their defensive pressure going into the second quarter. Stevenson led 41-11 at the break.
"We just had to turn the page," Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose said. "We had a bad taste in our mouth after (Hinsdale South). We came back with a good, strong effort. We just picked things up in the passing lanes and got after the ball. We also did a little bit better with our trapping. We were much better sharing the ball and made proper reads.
"We also had the last day of school and got out a little bit early. That does as much for the psyche as anything."
Demarcus House led the Panthers with 10 points.