Stevenson defense clamps down on cold-shooting Jacobs
For the second straight day, Stevenson put forth an impressive showing at the Ed Molitor Holiday Classic Boys Basketball Tournament.
The Patriots (2-0) took care of business on Wednesday with a 49-31 win over Jacobs (1-1), thanks in-part to a game-high 14 points and 6 assists from junior guard Evan Ambrose.
He was 6 of 11 from the field, and his ability to distribute the ball effectively helped Stevenson shoot 47.9 % (23 of 48) as a team.
"I sit in class all the time and watch highlights and clips of players who used to play here at Stevenson," Ambrose said. "Especially guys I grew up around, watching, like Jalen (Brunson), Connor (Cashaw), Justin (Smith) and all those guys who were on the team that won that state title.
"It gives me goose bumps to think about, because that's where I want to be before I graduate one day. There is so much to learn by going back and watching those guys."
Stevenson and Jacobs exchanged leads four times in a closely contested first quarter. But the Patriots held the Golden Eagles scoreless during the second quarter. At one point during the second and third quarters, Jacobs missed 14 consecutive 3-point tries.
That inability to find the basket for such a long stretch put Jacobs in a 12-point hole by halftime. Jaden Henderson (11 points) sank a layup in the opening minute of the third quarter to break a nine-plus minute scoreless drought for the Golden Eagles, but they couldn't cut the lead to fewer than six the rest of the game.
Jacobs coach Jimmy Roberts explained sometimes things just don't go the way you hope.
"When you miss big shots and big opportunities, especially against a good team like Stevenson, it adds up," Roberts said. "Sometimes all it takes is one guy to make a shot and suddenly you go on a run, but that never really happened today.
"The good news is, we can guard people. We held them to 22 points in the first half, and if we do that to teams regularly, we're going to be in pretty much every game. Problem was, we only had 10 points ourselves by halftime."
John Ittounas (10 points, 4 rebounds) was the only other Stevenson player to tally a double-digit scoring total. Robert Holmes Jr. (8 points), Matt Ambrose (6 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals) and Matthew Kaznikov (8 points, 8 boards) contributed to the winning cause.
"We enjoy the challenge of playing a team like Jacobs because we know they have a history of success," Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose said. "Games like this really help prepare us and make us a better, tougher basketball team."
Stevenson plays again on Friday against Palatine at Day 3 of the tournament at 4:15 p.m. Jacobs, meanwhile, squares off against Elk Grove at 1:15 p.m. the same day.
"We had multiple chances in the third and fourth quarters to cut it to a two-possession game," Roberts said. "Stevenson did a good job contesting shots, sure. But we were ... what's the word? Constricted I think fits best. We'll try our best to learn from this one, then adjust accordingly."