Ambrose up to the task as Pats edge Lake Zurich
Maybe the biggest compliment he received on this special night came from the man who lives in his own house.
"He's a really good kid,'' said Stevenson boys basketball coach Pat Ambrose of his son, Matthew. "He washes the dishes and makes his bed."
Matthew Ambrose also tended to his domestic basketball matters quite effectively, leading all scorers on Friday night in a home game. His 17-point night started with 4 straight points as the Patriots (9-6, 3-2), opened up a quick 9-point lead against Lake Zurich in the second quarter (19-10).
That lead didn't hold up for very long. By the third quarter, Lake Zurich had caught the Pats. It went down to the final shot.
And Stevenson had the final shot.
"Maybe we fouled a little too early,'' said Lake Zurich coach Billy Pitcher. "But we played great defense at the end. Ambrose just made a great play. He made a great spin move."
Yes, Ambrose beat the buzzer and gave the Pats a stunning 42-41 win over the Bears in North Suburban Conference play.
"We've had our ups and downs this year,'' said Matthew Ambrose, a sophomore. "We've had bumps and bruises. I just focused at the end."
His last shot of the game was a bank shot to finish it.
It must be noted that Stevenson did not attempt a single free throw. Ambrose joined teammates Matthew Kaznikov and Trey Baker with 3s in the second quarter.
With three minutes before halftime, the Pats were seemingly in a good spot, up 19-10.
"They switched their defense,'' said Pats senior Jackson Qualley. "Plus, we weren't making our shots."
Qualley, was held to 4 points entering the final quarter. He then went on a personal 10-point run, which included a pair of 3s. On his final drive of the night, his hoop gave the Pats a 40-39 lead with 28 seconds left.
Pitcher's club had strong performances from Ryan Kutsor (15 points, 5 rebounds), Kenny Haynes (12 points) and Peter DiCerbo (8 points, 9 rebounds).
The younger Ambrose also appeared in another big play.
"We were up by 4 and had the ball,'' Pitcher said. "We almost got the bucket and had a chance to go up by three scores."
As the third quarter, closed, Ambrose banked in another one from about 30 feet.
"That was huge,'' Pitcher added.
Matthew Ambrose said he was happy to see Qualley contribute at the end of the game.
"He did a great job,'' Matthew Ambrose said. "Plus, he brings that great defense. He's a great shooter and he just needed to keep shooting."
Coach Ambrose pointed out that player Ambrose was in the crowd when some of the great Stevenson players of the recent past performed.
"He was there for Matt Morrissey and the four years of Jalen Brunson,'' Ambrose noted. "His mom did a great job of raising him."
The sophomore knew it would be a little bit of a transition for him.
"He's dad at home,'' Matthew said. "He's the coach here. It was a little bit hard at the start."
Qualley joined Ambrose in double figures with 14 points.