Stevenson's hot start does in Warren

 
By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 1/16/2019 10:22 PM
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Stevenson's boys basketball team moved itself into a first-place tie with Waukegan in the North Suburban Conference with a big home victory last Friday night. The Patriots knew that there could've been a letdown going on the road on Wednesday night.

But Stevenson had a different mindset. The Patriots had a strong start, hitting a number of shots in the opening quarter, which carried them the rest of the way to a 50-38 road win against Warren in Gurnee.

The Patriots now have a one-half game lead over Waukegan in the NSC and raised their record to 14-3 overall and 5-1 in the league while Warren falls to 8-8 and 3-3.

"We can shoot the ball, our guys can shoot, and knew the zone (Warren) was going to be in," Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose said. "We just shot them out of a zone and that's not totally surprising. A little bit shocking on their floor, because we don't feel comfortable here or practice here. We have four or five guys if you give them the three, it will probably go in.

"We did talk about, it doesn't do us any good beating Waukegan and lose to Warren. But it could also be Zion-Benton or Mundelein. We also talked that it might be tough on the road, focusing and doing a good job. Our kids did a good job."

The Patriots came out with sharp shooting, making 6 out of 8 shots and dropped down four 3-pointers in the opening quarter for an 18-9 lead.

Matt Ambrose (team-high 14 points) had a pair of 3s and John Ittounas (13 points) had the other two.

"We wanted to hunt the middle and kick the ball out from there," said Matt Ambrose, returning for his second game from a finger injury that kept him out of the lineup for 11 games.

"I didn't shoot well here last year. So I had it on my mind and I was getting ready for this game. I tested it in warmups and felt good. I held my follow through and the shots went in at the start."

Stevenson pushed its lead out to 15 in the second quarter after Luke Chieng made a layup for a 27-12 advantage with 2:30 left and the Pats led 29-17 at the break.

Warren tried to recover with its defense and chipped away in the third quarter.

Adnan Sarancic (8 rebounds) scored 10 of his game-high 19 points including a couple of free throws that brought the Blue Devils within 6, 33-27 with 2:21 left in the third.

Stevenson took a 10-point margin into the fourth quarter, going up 37-27. The Patriots then held form and made a number of free throws down the stretch for the double-digit victory.

"(Stevenson) is a good shooting team and they knocked down some shots," Warren coach Jon Jasnoch said. "We challenged them defensively to see if they could knock down some shots. They did and even when we switched to man, they continued to hit shots. After that I thought we settled in. I thought the second half was a different story. Stevenson was a good offensive team and to hold them to 50 was good, but we have to score more than 38. Stevenson was a good defensive team, we just have to improve our offense and execute better offensively against good teams like that."

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