Stevenson starts fast, rolls past Hersey
Simply put, Stevenson had just about everything working for it Wednesday night at the Palatine Ed Molitor Thanksgiving Classic.
Hersey, on the other hand, couldn't get anything going.
The Patriots earned a 61-29 boys basketball win over the Huskies, and it didn't hurt that they steamrollered out to a 9-0 lead just a couple of minutes after tipoff.
"That helped," said Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose of the quick advantage. "You get up a little bit, you're able to relax a little."
The Patriots were 4-of-5 from the 3-point line early on, with senior guard Jaden Evans hitting two in the first quarter, while classmate Andy Wang had one in the initial stanza.
And in the final minute of the first period, Patriots senior guard Tate Donica drove through traffic in the lane for a layup.
Teammate Evan Porto did the same moments later and just like that Stevenson had a 19-6 lead after the first 8 minutes were in the books.
"Offensively and defensively, we were playing solid," said Ambrose. "We were kind of getting up into them, we were able to pass the ball and get good shots."
A flurry of points in the latter stages of quarter number two put Stevenson up 30-10.
First, Christian Uremovich had a rebound and putback, Michael Maloney hit a layup, then a steal and 12-footer from Porto completed the sequence.
And with the Pats playing great defense, they took a 35-10 lead into halftime.
"For awhile we were really putting the screws to them (defensively)," said Ambrose. "I don't know how many points they (Hersey) had in the second quarter (it was 4), but we were getting contributions from a lot of kids in a lot of ways.
"We talked about (no letdown) at halftime. No magic words, but just keep your foot on the gas -- Hersey is a young team over there. They do a nice job and Austin (Hersey coach Scott) is a wonderful person. I don't know if he's a better coach or a better person. He's a really good guy."
Hersey opened the third quarter with an outstanding sequence that brought the Huskies closer.
First, Max Menninga made a nice pass to 6-6 freshman Jackson Hupp for a layup, then Hupp (6 points) hit the glass for another layup.
Hupp had 2 free throws thereafter to close the gap, but after a basket by Porto, Stevenson went on another run to put the game away.
Evans led Stevenson with 13 points, Uremovich scored 12 including a 3-pointer, Porto finished with 11 points while Brandon Sorokin and Jack Dabbs sank 3-pointers in the final quarter.
Menninga led Hersey with 9 points, while Johnny Ryg of the Huskies added 5.
"Hersey had a really great season last year," said Ambrose. "You can see they're going to get better, but right now our guards are seniors and they kind of controlled the pace and the narrative on the ball.
"That caused Hersey a little bit of a problem."