Chieng, Stevenson steal a win from Palatine
Stevenson senior guard Luke Chieng has been to the wars before on the basketball court and knows his way around.
Saturday afternoon at the Ed Molitor Thanksgiving Classic, Chieng showed his mettle in a 51-47 win over host Palatine.
With the Patriots guarding a 47-45 lead following a basket from Palatine's David Balanganayi with 2:13 left in the game, Chieng went to work.
Chieng stole an inbound pass under the basket and laid the ball in for a 49-45 lead with 1:23 remaining.
Balanganayi countered with a short jumper with 1:09 left cutting the score to 49-47.
The Patriots' next shot missed, but in bringing the ball up court, Chieng stole the Pirate pass at midcourt for another lay up and a 51-47 lead. Stevenson would hold on to finish the tournament 3-1.
"On the first steal," said Chieng, "I could see the inbounder's eyes looking for a guard to pass the ball to and I read the play. On the midcourt steal, I just anticipated where the ball might be going and I made the steal and layup."
"Those were two great players by Chieng," said Palatine coach Eric Millstone, who saw his team finish the tournament 1-3. "He's a senior who has the experience."
Chieng, an all-tournament selection, scored 19 points and hit three 3-pointers.
"He came up with big plays when we needed them down the stretch," said Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose. "I expect those types of plays from him. He was able to step up and make the plays."
Stevenson started out well, opening a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter with balanced scoring.
But near the end of the quarter Matt Ambrose jammed a finger and was not able to play the rest of the game.
"Our bench really picked up in his place and did a good job for us," said Pat Ambrose.
Palatine caught on fire in the second quarter connecting on seven 3-pointers in 9 attempts to cut the Patriot lead to 31-30 at halftime.
Senior Ben Storm (12 points) hit three long-range baskets and Julian Campbell (16 points, 6 rebounds) hit for two.
Leading 33-32 Stevenson used a 10-3 run to finish the third quarter with a 43-35 lead.
"We had a much better effort," said Millstone. "We talked this morning about competing better and showing toughness. What we need to do now is when things are not going well on offense we have to come up with good defense."
"Mental toughness is something we have to work on," said Chieng. " We've let teams come back at us after having big leads in the games we played here. We just need to dig in and work on that."