Musial's 3 lifts St. Charles East past Stevenson

 
By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 12/26/2018 5:17 PM
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The St. Charles East and Stevenson boys basketball teams have played competitive schedules and have suffered close losses along the way.

The two teams engaged in a close battle against each other on Wednesday at Hinsdale Central.

St. Charles East hit a bunch of 3-pointers in the first half and held a 12-point advantage. The treys stopped falling in the second half, however, and the Patriots chipped away at their deficit, tying the game in the final minute of the fourth quarter.

But Mark Musial hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 20 seconds left, as St. Charles East prevailed 51-48 in first-round play of the Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic.

"I haven't hit a shot that big. It was crazy," said Musial, who had a game-high 15 points. "I always have a short memory when I shoot, so I was onto my next shot after missing a few. I knew I had to get this one, and I was able to hit it."

The Saints (8-5) shot 1 of 10 from beyond the arc before Musial's big trey. They were 4 of 8 from three-point range in the first half.

Stevenson (9-3) had a couple of chances to tie the score in the final seconds but had three-point attempts go off the rim.

"Anytime you can beat a good Stevenson team, you have to feel fortunate," St. Charles East coach Patrick Woods said. "We're happy to get out with a win. It could have been a little quicker at the end, but we'll take it. We hit the most important (3-pointer) at the end."

Nate Ortiz added 14 points for the Saints, and Cody Mitchell chipped in 12.

Stevenson was led by Matthew Kaznikov with 13 points. Sophomore Evan Ambrose had a career-best 10 points coming off the bench in just his third varsity game, and R.J. Holmes also scored 10 points.

The Patriots trailed 33-21 at the break, but got within 41-38 going into the fourth. Holmes tied the score at 48-48 with 35 seconds left in the game.

"We played much better in the second half than the first half," Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose said. "Maybe we were a step slow or asleep. We just gave up too many points. We let St. Charles East do what they do. We didn't do what we can do. They just got us with a ball screen (on the winning 3-pointer), and we didn't do a good job defending on that shot. It's something to learn from."

Stevenson will next play Urban Prep at 11 a.m. Thursday in the consolation bracket, while St. Charles East will face DePaul College Prep at 5:15 p.m. in the quarterfinals.

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