Herenton keys first-half spurt for victorious Stevenson
Willie Herenton put forth his best defense, along with a nice dose of leadership, in a strong second-quarter effort for Stevenson's boys basketball team.
Herenton scored 8 of his 16 points in that quarter and forced a few turnovers as Indiana-bound teammate Justin Smith did his thing, getting a couple of alley-oop dunks on his way to a game-high 28 points.
That was a bit too much for Libertyville, as Stevenson won 64-50 in a North Suburban Conference game on Thursday night in Lincolnshire.
"That's my mentality going into the game, I know that I can score," Herenton said. "In practice, we went over (Libertyville's defensive schemes) and we knew how to score against them. We knew that we were more athletic than them. We knew that we could drive and be faster than them -- that's what we used to our advantage."
Stevenson remains unbeaten in the NSC at 4-0 and improved to 11-2 overall, while Libertyville dropped to 7-8 and 3-1.
"It was nice to get the win," Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose said. "It was good to get a lead in the second quarter, and we seemed to keep it up in the second half. I felt like we gave up too many points in the first quarter. We kind of changed our mindset a little."
Stevenson held an 18-16 lead at the end of the opening quarter. But the Patriots put together a 19-7 edge in the second quarter to take a 37-23 lead into the break.
One of Libertyville's problems was rebounding, as second-chance points for Stevenson led to its decisive halftime lead.
"We dig some holes that we can't get ourselves out of," Libertyville coach Brent Mork said. "It's not complicated -- you have to rebound the basketball. If you don't rebound, bad things will happen. If you don't finish possessions, then you won't finish games like that. (Stevenson) had a little burst and made a run at us in the second quarter."
Drew Peterson led the Wildcats with 16 of his team-high 23 points in the first half.
While the Wildcats tried to chip away at the Patriots in the second half, they weren't able to get within single digits.
"(Libertyville) never gave up,' Ambrose said. "They did a nice job jumping at us when we threw the ball away, and I wasn't that surprised."
Aiden O'Connell had 7 rebounds and 7 assists for Stevenson, and Eric Zalewski contributed 5 points and 3 assists.
Brandon Rule produced 11 points for Libertyville.