Bonk paces a first-round win for Stevenson
Stevenson's boys basketball team has a younger look this season, but the Patriots rose to the occasion when it mattered most against Homewood-Flossmoor in opening-round action of the Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic.
Trailing by 8 points in the fourth quarter, Stevenson rallied for a 48-47 win Wednesday.
Nick Bonk led Stevenson with 13 points and 8 rebounds, Jackson Qualley added 12 points, and sophomore Matthew Ambrose chipped in 12 points.
"We had a very good fourth quarter," Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose said. "We hit the 3-pointer finally and we were able to make some shots. (Homewood-Flossmoor) didn't give up at the end either.
"(Team play) makes a difference," Ambrose added. "We shared the ball a little more, found the open man and had good team defense. We were able to make them try tougher shots and got defensive rebounds. It was all good stuff."
Stevenson (7-4) trailed 26-16 at halftime and got within 37-31 starting the final quarter.
The Vikings' Sean Jones (13 points) made a layup that increased the lead to 39-31 with 7:17 left in the fourth. But the Patriots went on a 15-3 run that put them in the lead for the first time since the first quarter. Qualley hit the trey that put the Patriots ahead 44-42 with 1:25 left.
"It really was a simple play that we go over and over in practice," Qualley said. "It was one of the reads. They doubled a guy off a screen. I played it like I do it every day in practice and knocked it down. We also locked down on defense with help in the post and we were able to stay together."
Ambrose followed up with two straight free throws for a 4-point advantage with 1:13 left.
Homewood-Flossmoor (6-3) got a layup from Isaac Stanback (game-high 15 points) to make it a 2-point game again, but Luke Chieng (7 points) made 2 free throws to put the Patriots back up 48-44 with 3.4 seconds left.
Homewood-Flossmoor got a 3-pointer from Stanback in the final second.
Stevenson will next play DePaul College Prep (9-1) at 3:45 p.m. Thursday in the quarterfinals.
"It's a big win in the tournament, and a step forward," Pat Ambrose said. "But it lasts less than 24 hours because if we come out and lay an egg (against DePaul Prep) we'll forget this one. If we win, then we will think about the next one."