Stevenson tops York to win Molitor tourney title
Pick a name out of a hat.
That may be the only way to who to chose a player to defend when playing Stevenson's boys basketball team.
For the fourth game in a row, the Patriots had a different player step up in key situation.
On Saturday in the title game of the Ed Molitor Thanksgiving Classic in Palatine it was Matt Kaznikov's turn. The senior scored 7 of his 11 points in the third quarter to help the Patriots pull away from York 52-39.
"My first couple of games, I was doing whatever it takes for the team to win," Kaznikov said. "Today it just happened to be by me scoring. All of our guys know their roles and whoevers name gets called is going to step up."
Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose said that he likes having a different player in the spotlight each night.
"Pick your poison," Ambrose said. "If it is not Evan (Ambrose) going off, it is Matt Kaznikov. Or it's Bobby Holmes or John Ittounas or Matt Ambrose. That is one of the reasons we are so good. We know it takes that. We have that conversation all the time. Everyone has to come to play and everyone can."
The pace of play was slow and deliberate in the first half as Stevenson (4-0) led 18-11 at the break.
Things picked up at a rapid pace for both teams to begin the third quarter.
York (3-1), led by Nate Shockey and Tom Glavan, converted 5 of its first 6 shots.
Stevenson was even more deadly. With Kaznikov, Matt Ambrose and Holmes leading the charge, the Patriots knocked down 7 of their first 8 shots. Jacob Tenner made it 8 of 9 with his layup that put Stevenson up 38-24 with 57 seconds left in the third quarter.
Ittounas and Holmes helped close out the game out for the Patriots in the final quarter.
"We are just happy that we got this far and accomplished what we did," said Holmes, who finished with 12 points and was named tournament MVP.
"We were able to stick through the tournament as a team. We relied on each other and we all know our roles and play together the best that we can."
Matt Ambrose had 10 points while Ittounas had 7 points and Evan Ambrose had 6 points.
"It is a good start," Pat Ambrose said. "We played some different styles. We have followed through and learned a lot and have progressed. You are happy with the wins but you are happy with the steps forward."
Shockey led York with 14 points. Jake Brandolino had 10 points while Lex Harrison chipped in 8 points for the Dukes.
"Their defense did not give us anything easy," said York assistant coach Rob Wostratzky, who was filling in for head coach Vince Doran who was away on a family matter.
"The few times we did get an offensive rebound or an inside touch, we just couldn't finish."
Wostratzky said that Dukes were able to grow thanks to tough competition.
"For a young team, which pretty much we are, to play four close games against four good teams and have those late-game fourth quarter situations that really matter," Wostratzky said. "that is something to build off of."