Porto, Evans lead Stevenson past Cary-Grove
The animated movie "The Incredibles" hit the theaters in 2004.
Tuesday night, in an Ed Molitor Thanksgiving Classic first-rounder at Palatine, Stevenson senior guards Evan Porto and Jaden Evans starred in a boys basketball game that turned into a wildly entertaining show called "The Interchangeables."
The 6-foot Porto can play either point guard or off-guard.
So can the 5-10 Evans.
The pair of versatile Patriots combined for 44 points in Stevenson's 64-49 defeat of Cary-Grove, with Porto pouring in a game-high 23 points (including 5 3-pointers) and Evans netting 21 (4 treys, including 3 in the final quarter).
With time melting oh-so-close to 0:00 in the first quarter, Porto shoved a pass to Evans, who nailed a 3-ball to beat the buzzer.
"Jaden's shot … it's insane," gushed Porto, who also finished with 3 rebounds and 2 steals. "But that's not all he does well; he'll also get up in your grill on defense all night."
Evans pulled down 4 rebounds and dished the assist of the night via a well-placed alley-oop to 6-6 sophomore forward Christian Uremovich (6 points), who soared to tap down a gentle, two-handed slam that put Stevenson up 33-27 at 5:31 of the third quarter.
The Pats (1-0) secured their first 10-point lead at 44-34 on a Porto drive nearly 4 minutes later, but C-G (0-1), highly competitive and gritty for most of the 32 minutes, answered with consecutive field goals from senior guard/forward Kyle Ochwat (11 points) and senior guard Calvin Slimko (6 points, team-high 7 boards) to close the quarter.
The Trojans opened the fourth frame with a pair of Jake Hornok free throws, narrowing Stevenson's advantage to 44-40.
Junior guard Michael Maloney's steal-and-layup then triggered a 12-3 Patriots run (from 6:57 to 4:06), before Evans' penultimate 3-pointer gave the eventual victors a comfy 59-44 lead at the 3:23 mark.
"I liked our composure," said Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose, whose crew led 26-21 at the break. "Cary-Grove threw a lot at us. We weathered some storms out there, didn't let their couple of runs get us down.
"First game, you want to avoid jitters as best as you can," he added. "Our guys were fired up for this game. And they played smart with the ball, for the most part."
Cary-Grove's lone returning starter is senior and third-year varsity guard Mike Clarke (11 points, including 2 3-pointers). Backcourt mate John Mau, a 6-2 senior, also played steady ball in the opener, tallying 9 points; his lone trey came 32 seconds after Thomas' dunk.
"We were right there, close, a few times," Trojans coach Adam McCloud said. "I liked how we competed. You always want to see that from your team, especially at the beginning of the season. But Stevenson had those couple of guards, who hit big shots at big moments."
Stevenson threatened to make the contest a laugher, taking an 8-2 lead in the first 2:11, with Porto accounting for half of the Pats' output. C-G roared right back, getting a bucket and a trey from Clarke in a 7-0 burst and prompting a Stevenson timeout at 3:30.
Stevenson's Maloney finished with 4 points and 2 steals; CG junior center Zach Bauer contributed 6 points and a pair of steals, and teammate Hornok struck for 6 points.
"Good start," Porto said. "We shot well. We played very well. But I loved the energy our bench gave us more than anything else tonight."