Stevenson edges out Palatine
There are no hard feelings now -- so it's OK for the truth to be known.
How did Stevenson point guard Kiana Cencula get hurt a few weeks ago? Well, she ran into teammate Klaire Steffens' knee.
Best buddies again, this twosome played a big part in Stevenson's first regional crown since the 2013 season. The Patriots were underdogs on Thursday night in the Highland Park Regional, with 22-game winner Palatine the foe.
Stevenson had early leads of 12-4 and 16-9 in the opening half, but they quickly disappeared as the Pirates led by the halftime break.
Palatine had 3-point advantages for much of the final quarter. But Steffens (12 points, 9 rebounds) hit her free throws down the stretch, and Stevenson will head to the Fremd sectional next week after edging the Pirates 35-32.
"We really had good ball movement,'' Steffens said. "I know we have had an up and down season. And we've lost a lot of close games. We just finished tonight."
An Avery King 3-pointer put the Pats up 12-4 late in the opening quarter. But the 3-point shooting of the Pirates' Jenny Myslinski (12 points) gave the Pirates the lead at the break, 19-16.
"We had a great year,'' said Palatine coach Mark Johnson. "These girls made it so easy for me. But Steffens is tough for Stevenson. They are well-coached, and I'm glad Cencula came back to them."
In a low-scoring third quarter, Cencula scored the first 5 points for the Pats on a 3-pointer and a layup. The senior added 7 points and 5 boards to the Stevenson attack.
"In the second half, we adjusted to their zone,'' Cencula noted. "We even had some fastbreak opportunities."
On a flip shot from Sarah Jasonowicz, the Pirates opened up a 3-point lead in the final quarter at 28-25. The last lead of the night for Palatine came on 2 free throws from Anja Jacobsen.
In the meantime, the Pats were getting to the basket. On a drive to the hoop by Isabella Paldrmic (9 points), the Pirates' lead was down to a single point. On a tough bank shot from King (7 points), the Pats had grabbed the lead for good.
The game was still in play when Sydney Rzepka (6 points) tallied in traffic.
The Pats' lead was down to single point at 33-32 before Steffens closed the scoring from the free throw line.
Stevenson will play some familiar teams come the Fremd sectional, getting the winner of Lake Zurich and Lake Forest, who play Friday in the Grayslake North regional final.