Turk helps Stevenson pass test with Warren

  • Warren's Tavion McCarthy (3) drives on Stevenson's Luke Cheing (2) and Samvit Ram on Wednesday night in Lincolnshire.

    Warren's Tavion McCarthy (3) drives on Stevenson's Luke Cheing (2) and Samvit Ram on Wednesday night in Lincolnshire. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's Luke Cheing (2) passes to Samvit Ram after a scramble on the floor with Warren's Tavion McCarthy on Wednesday night in Lincolnshire.

    Stevenson's Luke Cheing (2) passes to Samvit Ram after a scramble on the floor with Warren's Tavion McCarthy on Wednesday night in Lincolnshire. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's Jackson Qualley, left, reaches in on Warren's Branden Ellis on Wednesday night in Lincolnshire.

    Stevenson's Jackson Qualley, left, reaches in on Warren's Branden Ellis on Wednesday night in Lincolnshire. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Warren's Branden Ellis, right, reaches in on Stevenson's Jackson Qualley on Wednesday night in Lincolnshire.

    Warren's Branden Ellis, right, reaches in on Stevenson's Jackson Qualley on Wednesday night in Lincolnshire. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Warren's Tavion McCarthy (3) draws a charge from Stevenson's Luke Cheing on Wednesday night in Lincolnshire.

    Warren's Tavion McCarthy (3) draws a charge from Stevenson's Luke Cheing on Wednesday night in Lincolnshire. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's Trey Baker, right, passes around Warren's Casey Cobe on Wednesday night in Lincolnshire.

    Stevenson's Trey Baker, right, passes around Warren's Casey Cobe on Wednesday night in Lincolnshire. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Warren's Branden Ellis shoots against Stevenson on Wednesday night in Lincolnshire.

    Warren's Branden Ellis shoots against Stevenson on Wednesday night in Lincolnshire. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Stevenson's Jackson Qualley, right, drives on Warren's Barak Diehl on Wednesday night in Lincolnshire.

    Stevenson's Jackson Qualley, right, drives on Warren's Barak Diehl on Wednesday night in Lincolnshire. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 1/24/2018 10:42 PM

It's his GPA, not his points-per-game average, that figures to land Stevenson senior Tyler Turk at a Division-I school.

"I'm looking at Northwestern, UCLA, USC, Wisconsin (among others)," said Turk, whose 4.65 GPA is actually only second best on the team to Jack Xiao.

 

Turk won't play D-I basketball. So while Stevenson can't boast of a Jalen Brunson (Villanova), Connor Cashaw (Rice), Justin Smith (Indiana), Rodney Herenton (Stanford) or Willie Herenton (Miami) this season, the Patriots still have major-college talent -- classroom talent, anyway.

And at the halfway point of the North Suburban Conference season, the Patriots find themselves in a familiar place: first place.

Jackson Qualley scored 17 points, Turk provided a second-half spark, and Stevenson beat visiting Warren 45-34 Wednesday night. Stevenson (11-6), Warren (14-8) and Libertyville, which beat Zion-Benton Wednesday night, are all 5-2 in the NSC and tied for first place.

"The kids have done some good things," said Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose, whose team also got 9 points (two 3-pointers) from Samvit Ram. Qualley went 5 of 8 from three-point range.

"This is the first year in six or so years that we do not have a star player, and that means we all got to step up," Turk said. "But it also gives us versatility in the sense that one of us can have a bad game, two or three of us can have not our best game, and we can still win because we have guys on the bench that are happy to come in and just do their job."

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Stevenson beat a Warren team that had won five conference games in a row and welcomed back leading scorer Branden Ellis, who had missed four games in a row with a hyperextended left knee. Down 16-15 at halftime after shooting just 1 of 8 from the floor in the second quarter in getting outscored 6-2, Stevenson opened the second half with a 9-0 run that included two 3-pointers from Qualley and 3 points from 6-foot-7 Nick Bonk (7 points, 9 rebounds). Warren twice cut its deficit to seven points in the third, but each time Turk answered at the offensive end, once on a jumper in the lane and once on a putback.

"Our reserves don't play a lot, but they are fabulous for us," Ambrose said. "They make us better. (Warren) is a tough team to play against because of that zone, and (the reseves) replicated that zone on Monday and Tuesday very well."

Ellis finished with a game-high 18 points, including a 3-pointer at the final buzzer. The senior guard had just 4 points at halftime but got going in the third with a pair of baskets, including a dunk, off passes from Jacob Rich. Rich fed Ellis for an alley-oop layup in the fourth.

"Jacob and I have played on the same basketball team for a long time (since sixth grade)," Ellis said. "He doesn't really rush things. He pivots a lot. So if you see him with the ball, cut to the basket."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Stevenson took a 31-22 lead into the fourth and kept a comfortable margin throughout the quarter, which started with Turk (6 points, 3 rebounds) scoring on another putback.

Warren had only 13 points in the second half until Ellis dropped in five in the final 16 seconds. The Blue Devils got only 14 points, total, from their other players.

"I kept telling my guys that I thought this game was going to be about execution," Warren coach Jon Jasnoch said. "Two good teams. Stevenson executed. ... We turned the ball over early in the third quarter a few times, and Qualley hit some big shots. They're a good-shooting team."

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