Steffens steers a Stevenson win against Mundelein
Klaire Steffens marked her 16th birthday with an all-around performance worth celebrating for Stevenson's girls basketball team on Friday night.
The sophomore still hasn't passed her driver's license test as of yet. That didn't stop her from driving along the baseline and then deploying a step-back move and scoring on a baseline jumper in the third quarter.
Steffens finished with 12 points to go with 6 rebounds and had 3 steals.
"I haven't used that in a while," Steffens said. "I felt confident that it would go in. I felt (the defender) was ready for me to drive. I put my pressure in -- and then went back. She just kind of fell for it. It was the first time I've done that this year."
Stevenson won for the second straight time in North Suburban Lake Division play, as the Patriots drove past visiting Mundelein 50-29.
The Patriots (5-2, 2-0) were led in scoring by another sophomore, Kiana Cencula (17 points and 3 steals).
"This year, we're such a team -- like, every time you come to practice it's more like family," Cencula said. "This year we've really picked up the energy. We have a way of pushing each other, and we do that in practice. Every day we work hard and I feel I owe it to the team to do my best."
Energy was on the side of Stevenson from the start. The Patriots scored the first 9 points and boosted the lead to 14-1 on Steffen's 2 free throws with 3:48 left.
Mundelein (1-7, 0-2) tried to recover early on, as Amy Richards scored 4 of her team-high 8 points to cut the lead to 16-8 before the end of the first quarter.
The Patriots got a big push from Cencula who dropped in 9 points in the second quarter to give Stevenson a 25-14 lead at the break.
"I thought our effort was great," Mundelein coach Martin Pazanin said. "We just had a lot of aggressive breakdowns. (Stevenson) does have the athletes. They were very quick off the ball and very quick with the ball. We had a slow start and then the middle 24 minutes we might have played even with them. I think we're right there and very close. But the big thing are the turnovers."
In the second half, Stevenson held a 39-21 advantage by the end of the third quarter. But Mundelein cut the lead to 42-28 on Richards' 2 free throws with 4:07 remaining.
The Patriots closed out the rest of the way with an 8-1 run.
"I thought we did good on the defensive glass, and that goes with our principles defensively," Stevenson coach Ashley Graham said. "It something we practice and preach every day."