Stevenson earns berth in consolation final at Hinsdale Central
A strong second half was more than enough to send Stevenson's boys basketball team into the consolation championship of the Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic.
Luke Chieng led the way with 22 points as the Patriots bounced Richards 59-48 in the consolation semifinals on Friday afternoon. John Ittounas added 14 points for Stevenson, Matt Kaznikov chipped in 10 points and 5 rebounds, and R.J. Holmes pulled down 15 boards.
"It was a good win for us," said Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose, whose team has won two straight games in the tournament after losing to St. Charles East in its opener on Wednesday. "We want a championship under out belt."
Stevenson (11-3) will next take on host Hinsdale Central (4-7) for the consolation championship at 3:45 p.m. Saturday. Hinsdale Central got past Rockford Auburn 52-49 in the other semifinal.
The Patriots played their type of basketball against Richards (8-4), dictating defense and finding good shots in the second half.
"The kids persevered and came out of halftime really well," Ambrose said. "A couple of kids said a couple things at halftime that really made a difference for us. Usually, I'll say something, but a coach-coach locker room is not good. A player-coach locker room is a better locker room. They just came out and said we have to have better focus and make better plays. We have really smart kids and we were able to control the game in the third quarter."
The score was tied 27-27 at the break, but the Patriots outscored the Bulldogs 17-6 in the third quarter. Chieng scored 9 points, including a 3-pointer, during the stretch. He also drove to the basket and scored twice.
"It was a close game," Chieng said. "I knew I could get a few drives, make a few layups and keep hitting my shots. I had a lot of confidence coming into this game and was given some open shots. So I was making them."
Stevenson was well in control the rest of the way, keeping its lead in double digits.
The Patriots had a 35-27 rebounding advantage, thanks largely to the effort of the 6-foot-5 Holmes.
"It was just what we needed," Holmes said. "It was going to be a battle of us finishing, and we won today. I know my role on the team and (part of it is) going up for those boards."
Paul Zalinskas and Sean Willis led Richards with 13 points apiece.