King, Stevenson make statement with big win over Lake Forest
Stevenson's girls basketball players wore jerseys adorned with pink numbers Friday night.
It was "Think Pink" night, after all, and cancer awareness shared the spotlight with the Lake Forest-Stevenson North Suburban Conference tilt.
Patriots senior guard-forward Avery King wore No. 20. She also wore out the short-handed Scouts at both ends of the floor, pouring in a game-high 22 points and collecting 8 rebounds and 2 steals in Stevenson's resounding 48-25 victory.
The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater recruit also had a hand in limiting University of Wisconsin-Madison signee Halle Douglass -- the holder of every major career record in Lake Forest program history -- to 13 points, 5 after intermission.
"Avery plays well against us every time," Scouts coach Kyle Wilhelm said. "She's got that strong midrange game, stopping and popping pullup jumpers."
The 5-foot-11 King netted 14 of her points in the middle quarters. She hit her first 3-pointer in the first quarter and added another triple in the fourth. Her final bucket of the night came on a putback with 3:51 remaining, swelling the host's lead to 44-21.
King had tallied 24 points (2 shy of her career high) in the teams' first meeting, a 50-42 Scouts triumph on Dec. 5.
But the last thing she wanted to talk about Friday night was her 'O'. Stevenson's stifling 'D' reigned, King noted after her team's season-high seventh straight win.
"How well we stuck to our game plan on defense -- that's what impressed me more than anything else," said King, who scored half of the Patriots' 6 points in the first quarter. "You have to do that against a great, active player like Halle, who likes to drive the lane.
"You have to do all you can to keep her from finding (openings)."
Stevenson (19-6, 6-3) led 21-11 at the break and opened up an oh-so-comfortable 34-15 advantage at 3:16 of the third frame on a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Ava Bardic (8 points, two 3s).
King's third field goal of the quarter beat the buzzer by 2 seconds.
Patriots sophomore Simone Sawyer finished with 13 points and a pair of steals. The electric 5-11 guard needed a mere 7 seconds to answer a Scouts bucket with a layup that culminated a "California-to-New York" sprint in the final quarter.
"We've got to get better, period," said Wilhelm, whose injury-marred club fell to 18-6, 6-3. "Stevenson played hard. Credit Stevenson. But we're better than the 20-whatever points we scored tonight.
"Stevenson," he added, "knew exactly what we wanted to do ... probably more than we knew. (Pats coach) Ashley (Graham) always has her team prepared."
Graham's girls crackled on defensive all night, particularly after striking hardwood with their hands before most of LF's possessions. The collective slap apparently focused them.
"Our defense was so sound tonight," a proud Graham said. "Halle Douglass garners so much attention. Yes, she's a great player with all those school records. But what also makes her outstanding in basketball is her commitment to playing without an ego. She's been a total culture builder at Lake Forest. We respect the heck out of her."
Patriots senior guard-forward Nikki Kolz grabbed 5 of her 7 rebounds in the first half.