It's all Mundelein in rout of Stevenson
A lot of things have changed since Mundelein was supposed to meet Stevenson in the championship game of the Class 4A Prospect sectional last March.
After an 11-month hiatus from boys basketball action due to the COVID-19 pandemic, host Mundelein met the Patriots Saturday afternoon in North Suburban Conference action.
And from the get-go it was all Mustangs as they built a 16-2 lead after one quarter against outmanned, and outsized Stevenson.
The Patriots did bounce back strongly by outscoring Mundelein 13-11 to cut the gap to 27-15 at halftime, and 27-18 on a 3-pointer by Evan Porto to open the third quarter.
But the Mustangs (3-1,1-0) would outscore the Patriots 14-7 in the third quarter before really pulling away in the fourth quarter en route to an impressive 63-34 NSC victory.
Six-foot-9 Mundelein senior Scottie Ebube was a huge factor on both offense and defense as the Southern Illinois-bound center scored 12 points, grabbed 15 rebounds, and blocked 4 shots to really keep Stevenson (2-2, 1-1) from getting very many high percentage shots.
"We've waited for this moment since we were going to play them in the sectional finals last year, so we were ready," said Ebube, whose huge dunk breaking down the lane made the score 45-22 with 7:25 to play. "This is a really special team and we just wanted to have fun and play good defense today."
Drake-bound Mundelein senior Conor Enright had 17 points and 7 rebounds, and Ebube had a massive one-handed dunk off a missed shot by Enright midway through the third quarter.
Senior point guard Trey Baker was also very sharp for the Mustangs with 15 points, and he had the assist on Ebube's big dunk to cap their 13-point run early in the final period.
"I thought it was a strong team effort, it's stuff we know we're capable of doing, and we're a senior-heavy team," said Mundelein coach Matt Badgley, whose team led 59-29 when he pulled his starters with 2:18 to play. "Scottie (Ebube) is such an imposing, powerful player, and he's going to be an even better player going into the college game."
The Patriots were led by senior guard Andrew Chieng with 10 points while Jack Bikus scored 7 points for Mundelein. Junior Evan Porto and senior Darius Clemons chipped in 6 points each for Stevenson.
"They've got a lot of good players on their team, and we're a little inexperienced out there with one player back," said Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose, whose team beat the Mustangs in both meetings last season. "They've got some versatility, (Ebube) is big, so credit them- they're good."
Badgley knows it has been a tough road for all of the players to get to this point after missing so much time away from the games and practices. But he is optimistic and happy for at least getting to compete in the abbreviated 2021 season with no IHSA playoffs slated for this year.
"We're an aggressive team, and the seniors are all leaders," said Badgley, whose team outscored the Pats 22-12 in the fourth quarter. "We knew this team was going to be very good a few years ago, and it has just come together in a very difficult year for everybody."