Big first half propels Stevenson past Libertyville
The gym at Libertyville High School was eerily quiet as the girls basketball teams from Stevenson and Libertyville went to their respective benches a minute before tip off. But once the game began, it was Stevenson that was making most of the noise.
The Patriots went on a huge first half run and then drove to a 62-52 win Saturday afternoon in a nonconference game between the two North Suburban Conference rivals.
"I was proud of our kids' effort," Stevenson coach Ashley Graham said. "It was nerve-racking because we had a game (Friday) night and so did they. How are our kids going to respond and on the road? I was happy with the energy and our leadership."
Stevenson (4-0) trailed 11-7 late in the first quarter. That's when Ava Bardic hit the first of her six 3-pointers for the Patriots. Stevenson would erupt on a 23-6 run that ended on a layup by Bardic to give her team a 30-17 advantage.
"There is no point on not going a hard as you can " said Bardic, a junior who would score 25 points.
"I thought it was a real good team win. Everyone contributed. We got lots of energy from everyone including the people of the bench."
The Patriots also got a huge performance from Emory Klatt. The freshman scored 9 points and pulled down an eye-popping 18 rebounds in just her fourth varsity game.
Klatt credited her coaches for her rebounding prowess.
"It is something I am good at," Klatt said. "The coaches have worked with me getting around and fronting my opponents. It has really helped me box them out."
Simone Sawyer had 13 points while Nicole Ware chipped in 8 points for Stevenson, which saw its lead reach 17 points late in the third quarter.
The Patriots led 54-39 with 5:11 to play when Libertyville (2-2) began to get loud. The Wildcats closed to 58-50 on 3-pointer by Morgan Spaulding with 1:39 to play.
The Wildcats rallied behind the play Emily Fisher. The sophomore scored 15 of her 19 points in the second half. She also had 8 rebounds.
Libertyville also got strong play from seniors Spaulding, who scored 15 points, and Lauren Huber, who would tally 11 points. Marianna Morrissey, who would finish with 6 points, scored all of her points in the first quarter.
But that was as close as the Wildcats would get as Klatt had a putback and Bardic had a driving layup to end any chance of comeback.
"We know the effort is going to be there," Libertyville coach Greg Pedersen said. "The problem is leaving shooters open and not playing help defense. We are struggling right now because we need time to work on that stuff and we are using game time to do that."