Qualley's big shot lifts Stevenson in OT
It was a cliffhanger to the very end Friday night as host Stevenson and Waukegan hooked up in a wild North Suburban Conference basketball game.
The visiting Bulldogs looked like they were going to put away the Patriots on a couple of occasions, but in the end it was a huge 3-pointer by Stevenson senior Jackson Qualley that carried the Pats to a 53-52 overtime victory.
Waukegan (11-14, 4-9) had Stevenson (16-7, 9-3) on the ropes, but Quinton Teagues only hit 1 of 2 free throws with 9.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter, and the Bulldogs clung to a precarious 48-46 lead instead of the Patriots needing a 3-pointer to tie the game.
The Pats proceeded to move the ball down the court where Qualley (team-high 18 points) scored on a layup to deadlock the score at 48-48 with two seconds remaining to ultimately force overtime.
The OT was just as nerve-wracking for Patriots' fans as the Bulldogs led 52-50 when Jaylen King missed the front end of a 1-and-1 free throw with 37.3 seconds to go.
And while Stevenson once again only needed a 2-pointer to tie the game, this time point guard Luke Chieng found Qualley open in the right corner where Qualley buried a 3-pointer for a 53-52 lead with 13 seconds left.
Waukegan standout Bryant Brown (game-high 23 points) missed a 10-footer with five seconds left as the Bulldogs were forced to foul to stop the clock.
Stevenson sophomore Matthew Ambrose (10 points) missed the front end of a 1-and-1, but Waukegan fouled Nicholas Bonk going for the rebound with two seconds left. And while Bonk also missed the front end of the 1-and-1, Waukegan was never able to get off a desperation shot at the final buzzer clinching the Pats hard-fought win.
"We had a set play initially, it kind of broke down a little and Luke Chieng found me in the corner and I hit the shot," said Qualley, who had 12 of his 18 points in the second half. "We stopped them a lot in the first half, but Bryant Brown in a great player and he started attacking more in the second half."
Both teams really heated up from the field in the third quarter, especially the Bulldogs after they were outscored 12-2 in the second quarter to go into halftime trailing 22-14 in what was shaping up to be a total defensive struggle.
But Brown scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half to spark Waukegan's offense as a steal and basket by teammate Jordan Brown capped a 13-4 run to give the visitors their biggest lead at 45-40 with 3:40 left in the fourth quarter.
"Bryant Brown had missed four games with a sore foot before this and he looked really good," said Waukegan coach Ron Ashlaw, whose team was plagued by 17 turnovers overall. "That is the story of our season -- the small things matter the most, and we've lost a lot of close games."
Senior Samvit Ram joined Qualley and Ambrose in double figures with 10 points while Bonk scored 9 points. Jordan Brown scored 8 points while Teagues chipped in 7 points.
'It's a credit to our kids that they didn't get down and they fought to the end," said Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose, whose team hosts Libertyville in a first-place NSC showdown Monday night. "Chieng made a nice pass, Jackson was at the right place at the right time and it wasn't a designed play, but our kids made a good play."
"Bryant Brown was very good, we had a tough time guarding him," added Ambrose. "The big thing is we got the win, we survived, and we didn't fold."