Stevenson rolls in Hinsdale Central opener

 
By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 12/23/2019 6:47 PM

Stevenson's boys basketball team opened the Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic on a slow note Monday afternoon.

But that only lasted for one quarter as the Patriots applied their defense the rest of the way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Stevenson went on to open the tournament with a 51-31 victory over Glenbrook North at Hinsdale Central High School.

Matt Kaznikov led the Patriots with 16 points and 5 rebounds. John Ittounas added 11 points, Matt Ambrose chipped in with 9 and RJ Holmes had 10 boards and 4 blocked shots.

The Patriots (10-1) opened up a sizable lead of 8-3 after a Kaznikov 3-pointer with 4:50 left in the opening quarter.

The Spartans' Ben Foster knocked down four straight 3s of his team-high 16 points and carried Glenbrook North to a 16-10 lead after the first.

In the second quarter, Stevenson's defense caused missed shots and turnovers which led the Spartans without a point the entire quarter. Ittounas scored 5 points and had a couple of steals during a 12-0 run and a 22-16 Patriots lead.

"We came out really slow starting the game," Ittounas said. "It looked like we needed a spark. Evan (Ambrose) and I were chewing on the ball trying to get turnovers. We did hold them to zero points, which really helped. It's definitely one of our big goals. We really want to hold teams down to under 40 every game. Letting up 16 in the first quarter was unacceptable. We came out with fire in the second quarter to hold (Glenbrook North) to zero."

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The Patriots' defense held firm in the third as they outscored GBN 13-7 for a 35-23 lead after three and Stevenson raised the margin in the fourth.

"I like to play defense and help out on the boards," said Holmes. "There's a lot of different ways I can help out the team and impact the game."

Stevenson will next play Oswego East (8-3) in the quarterfinals Thursday at 5:15 p.m.

Oswego East beat Rockford Auburn 56-36 in its opener on Thursday.

The Patriots will need a better start in the next contest.

"We did come out with a lack of energy and a lack of focus," Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose said. "When we turned things on in the second quarter, we were better. (Glenbrook North) hit some shots. They were ready to go and we weren't. Defense is something we shoot for. Do the best we can and we did our best in that second quarter."

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