Qualley keys quality outing by Stevenson at Maine W.

 
By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 2/28/2017 10:29 PM

Jackson Qualley found his touch, and in a most timely manner.

Qualley's quality 3s gave Stevenson a boost in the second quarter of Class 4A regional play on Tuesday night at Maine West.

 

The junior had done it before enough times that the Patriots have come to depend on his knack for produicng points.

Against Lake Forest, he dropped in three 3s as the third-seeded Patriots rolled to a 64-34 victory. Stevenson meets No. 6 seed Waukegan in Friday's regional final at Maine West.

"I just stepped up for the shots and knocked them down," Qualley said. (Lake Forest) was collapsing on Justin (Smith) and Willie (Herenton) -- it just opened up the shots. I felt good coming into the game. The shootaround was good earlier in the day."

In the shot-making department, Qualley had plenty of company.

The Patriots made 10 of their 15 attempts 3-point attempts and finished 22-for-37 from the field for nearly 60 percent.

Smith led the way with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocked shots, and Herenton had 20 points.

It was Stevenson's first visit to Maine West in quite some time, but the new setting sure didn't seem to hamper the Pats' shooting prowess.

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"We can shoot, and we played well in the first half," said Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose. "We talked about the shooting background -- it was nice. Since they painted it gray, you can see the basket. We told the kids to get up there and hit their shots right away."

Stevenson (22-5) produced a quick start, scoring the first 7 points. The Pats led 12-6 after the opening quarter as Smith hit a couple of 3s.

"(Stevenson) came out and shot the ball very well and took the wind out of our sails," Lake Forest coach Phil LaScala said. "(Stevenson) made more 3s in the first half than the first two times we played them.

"Smith is one of the top five players in the state. When he gets his game going is one of the best. He can execute and he showed it tonight."

In the second quarter, Herenton came out strong, getting 11 points (including a couple of treys), and Qualley dropped in a pair.

Lake Forest (12-16) tried to recover in the third quarter. But Smith took over around the basket, scoring 10 points, and the Patriots outscored the Scouts 21-11 for a commanding 52-28 lead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We were ready to go in this one," Ambrose said. "We were sharp from the start, and defensively we held them down. Lake Forest was well-coached, and Phil does a great job. They knew what we were going to do, and we knew what they were going to do. It was tough to play for a third time and knew it would be a big battle."

Jed Thomas led the Scouts with 9 points and Justin McMahon added 8.

Stevenson will and Waukegan (19-8) will meet for a third time this season in the regional final, at 7 p.m. Friday. The Bulldogs defeated No. 11 Maine West 63-38 in the other regional semifinal.

In the two previous meetings, Stevenson won the first one by 20 in Lincolnshire, while Waukegan won on its own court 61-58.

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