Hot-shooting Evans helps Stevenson dump Palatine
Palatine's lively student fans donned a variety of flannel clothes for the Stevenson-Palatine boys basketball game at the Ed Molitor Thanksgiving Classic Friday afternoon.
The Pirates rewarded their bouncing, soft-woven-fabric-wrapped faithful by needing only 1 minute, 40 seconds to take a 7-2 lead.
The hosts led 14-12 after one quarter.
But Stevenson senior guard Jaden Evans -- held scoreless in the first 8 minutes -- then wore out the Pirates, amassing all 21 of his points via the 3-pointere in Stevenson's 53-44 victory.
Stevenson (3-0) faces Glenbrook South (3-0) for the title Saturday at 3:15 p.m. Glenbrook South defeated York 58-38 in Friday's final contest.
Evans' 7 treys tied a program record for 3-pointers in a game, joining Jalen Brunson and Evan Porto.
"I was fired up for this game, and I loved our ball movement, loved our team chemistry," said a beaming Evans, who hit 3 of Stevenson's 5 3-pointers (Porto, a senior, and sophomore forward Christian Uremovich netted the others) in his team's 15-point second quarter.
The 5-foot-10 Evans also got super excited after drawing an offensive foul in the lane at 4:22 of the second quarter, 10 seconds after his first triple in the matinee. Stevenson tallied the next 9 points to secure a 24-18 advantage at the 1:12 mark.
"We work on that (taking charges)," Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose said. "We call it a '3-point play' on defense, because it's a foul on one of their players, it puts a team foul up on the (scoreboard), and we get the ball."
Stevenson connected 13 times from long range to Palatine's 2. Porto (8 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals) nailed a pair of 3-pointers in the first half, and Uremovich (9 points, 4 rebounds), senior guard Tate Donica, junior guard David Sulinus and senior guard Andy Wang each finished with 1 trey.
"We had a couple of lapses, defensively, and Stevenson, such a well-coached team, took advantage," said Pirates coach Eric Millstone, whose club trailed 27-22 at the half. "Stevenson's shooters got to good spots.
"We have to stay together for 32 minutes. When a game starts to go south on us, we have to do a better job of relying on each other than we did today."
Palatine (2-1), sure to be a handful for Mid-Suburban League West crews all winter, fell behind 36-30 late in the third quarter but responded with a 5-0 burst, getting a field goal from junior forward Tyler Swierczek (13 points, 6 rebounds) and a 3-point play from junior forward Grant Dersnah (13 points, 5 rebounds).
With time running out in the quarter, Stevenson junior forward Joshua Thomas (6 points, 4 boards) grabbed an air ball and then put his squad up 38-35 with a buzzer-beating field goal.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Evans and Sulinus, followed by a Thomas bucket, opened the scoring in the final quarter and stretched the Pats' lead to 46-35. Swierczek hit a field goal 26 seconds later and then had to watch Evans' final trey attempt tap practically every part of the rim before jostling twine to make it a 49-36 game.
Pirates sophomore forward Connor May scored 7 of his 13 points in Palatine's 14-point first quarter.
"Palatine shoots well," Ambrose said. "We were kind of fearful of that. That's a very good team, a team that will win a lot of games this season."
Palatine plays York (2-1) at 1:45 p.m. Saturday for third place.