Stevenson headed to semis at Hinsdale Central
Evan Ambrose seems to find a way to get the spark ignited for Stevenson's boys basketball team one way or another.
In a tightly contested game against Oswego East, which was tied 18-18 at halftime, Ambrose made a layup, took a charge and dropped in a 3-pointer in a 30-second span of the third quarter during a 17-6 Patriots run.
"I love to give the team energy especially on defense," Ambrose said. "It all starts there with our pride and goal. Just trying to get our guys going that way. We started slow on the offensive end, but we were able to pull it out. They call me the 'Juice Man.' I just like to bring the juice and flow to the game."
That spark lifted Stevenson past Oswego East 51-42 in the quarterfinals of the Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic on Thursday night.
Stevenson (11-1) will next play Homewood-Flossmoor (9-1) in the semifinals at 7 p.m. Friday at Hinsdale Central High School. Homewood-Flossmoor won its quarterfinal over St. Charles East 83-54.
On Thursday, the third quarter proved to be the difference. RJ Holmes scored 8 of his game-high 14 points that pushed the Patriots' lead to 35-27 heading into the fourth.
"We just tried to play basketball after starting off really slow," Holmes said. "We just had to find ourselves on the floor and just play basketball. We just all tried to lock in on defense, post and rebounding. It all came to us, I was just able to find my grove and rhythm, just finishing off at the rim."
Matt Kaznikov chipped in with 11 points and a few in the fourth that extended the lead out to 13. The Patriots made 8 of 11 free throws in the final couple of minutes.
"Once we got a hold defensively of what (Oswego East) was good at, we were able to adjust and take away some of their tough players," Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose said. "We were getting at them in the second quarter, but couldn't get any baskets at the end. At halftime, we thought things would turn more in the third quarter. They were a good team -- talented, long, athletic and well-coached. We just had to adjust."
Oswego East (8-4) was led by three players each with 8 points -- Jalen Tucker, Odin Lium and William Wolfe.